Social Issues Book List Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
We've created ten book lists to support you in the Social Issues Book Club unit:
· Growing Up: Feelings of Exclusion and Secretiveness can be Overwhelming and Confusing;
· Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others;
· Culture and Diversity: Responding to racism, stereotypes and prejudices;
· Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles;
· Impact: The World Changes Us; We Change the World;
· Forgiveness: Finding Good in People and Places;
· Insights: Finding Resolutions to Problems through the Arts;
· Overcoming Obstacles in Life;
· Fitting In: Living in a World of Differences; and
· Perceptions: The Way Others View Us Can Affect the Way We View Ourselves.
However, we realize you may want to create your own set of lenses to read with. To help you do this we’ve
provided a summary for each book. You can download the complete list and do a quick search that fits your needs.
For example, books that deal with the issue of divorce appear across the different lists we’ve created. Searching the
word divorce can help you to create a list of books that deal with this social issue.
Important Things to Know About the Social Issue Book Lists:
1. All titles are recommend by teachers and staff developers
2. HI-B next to a level indicates titles that are of high interest for boys
3. Some picture books, poems and short stories have been incorporated into these lists as an option for your
use as a mentor text. Other than chapter books, the book type is listed under the title of the book.
4. We’ve tried to provide the cheapest ISBN number for each book. If a paperback version couldn’t be located
the hard cover ISBN is provided.
5. Our summaries are:
· from the backs of books, Barnes&Noble.com, amazon.com, and teachers who know the books well.
· completed with information about the plot, characters, content and language choice. We do not always
know every title personally, and ask you to double check that no title on any of these lists will lead you into
political hot water before choosing to order them.
Help us to improve and maintain these lists!
We welcome and await your input. If you want to talk back to the leveling of a title, have additional titles to
suggest, have additional language to add to the summary, please do not hesitate to email Lea Mercantini at
[email protected]
Tremendous thanks to the scores of teachers and coaches who’ve helped to create these lists. A special thanks to
Kathy Doyle, Mary Chiarella, Katie Bannon, Mindy Tauberg, Jennifer Dare, Shan Gaskin, Cathy Leverette, Lisa
Bernstein, Margaret Troyer, Tim Murray, Jennifer Hoffman, Jennifer Brogan, Allison Lennon, Ann Marie Burgess,
and Millie De Leon. This list wouldn’t be what it is without your help and support!
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Growing Up: Feelings of Exclusion and Secretiveness can be Overwhelming and Confusing
Title/Author
Summary
Aurora County All-Stars, The
Deborah Wiles
9780152066260
HI-B
HI-B
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
2. Rodrick Rules
3. The Last Straw
Jeff Kinney
1.9780810995529
2.9780810994737
(Hardcover)
3. 9780810970687
(Hardcover)
Feather Boy
Nicky Singer
9780440418580
Keeping Score
Linda Sue Park
9780618927999
(Hardcover)
Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith
9780060736262
J
M
Just Us Women
(Picture Book)
Janette Caines
9780064430562
One in the Middle is the Green
Kangaroo, The
(Picture Book)
Judy Blume
9780440467311
House Jackson has slogged through the preceding year with an out-of-commission elbow.
Instead of playing baseball, he's spent most of his time indoors with Mr. Norwood Rhinehart
Beauregard Boyd, an old and disliked man. House is reminded of his itch to play after Mr.
Boyd’s death. Unfortunately, the All-Stars' only game of the year is scheduled for the same
day as Aurora County's 200th anniversary pageant, an event directed by the girl who broke
House's elbow, Frances. House and Frances figure out a way to work out a hilarious
compromise that all readers can root for.
It's a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where
undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already
shaving. The hazards of growing up before you're ready are uniquely revealed through words
and drawings as Greg records them in his diary. In book one of this debut series, Greg is
happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star starts to rise,
Greg tries to use his best friend's newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a
chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion. In the second book, Rodrick
Rules, Greg enters the new school year, he’s eager to put the past three months behind him
and one event in particular. Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother, Rodrick, knows all
about the incident Greg wants to keep under wraps. But secrets have a way of getting out,
especially when a diary is involved. In the third book, The Last Straw, Greg’s dad actually
thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other
“manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change
him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to
shape up...or get shipped out.
When timid Robert Nobel asks Edith Sorrell, the mysterious resident of Mayfield Rest Home,
to share her wisdom with him as part of a class project, he never expects the complicated
mystery it would reveal that would change both of their lives forever.
Against a background of major league baseball and the Korean War on the home front,
Maggie looks for, and finds, a way to make a difference in her life and in the lives of those
around her. Even those readers who think they don't care about baseball will be drawn into
the world of the true and ardent fan. Linda Sue Park's captivating story will, of course, delight
those who are already keeping score.
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century,
Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion
and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of
young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums
of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By
turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the
unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly
rich moments of universal experience.
"No boys and no men-just us women," Aunt Martha tells her niece. And together they plan
their trip to North Carolina in Aunt Martha's brand-new car. This is to be a very special
outing-with no one to hurry them along; the two travelers can do exactly as they please.
Lately second-grader Freddy Dissel has that left-out kind of feeling. Life can be lonely when
you're the middle kid in the family and you feel like "the peanut butter part of a sandwich,"
squeezed between an older brother and a little sister. But now for the first time it's Freddy's
chance to show everyone how special he is and, most of all, prove it to himself!
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
N
N
HI-B
(Continued- Growing Up: Feelings of Exclusion and Secretiveness can be Overwhelming and Confusing)
How to be Cool in Third Grade
Betsey Duffey
9780141304663
Stories Julian Tells, The
Ann Cameron
9780394828923
P
Worry Website
Jacqueline Wilson
9780754078425
Q
Dog Days
David Lubar
9781581960259
18th Emergency, The
Betsy Byars
9780140314519
R
R
Day for Vincent Chin and Me, The
Jacqueline Turner Banks
9780618548798
R
Fig Pudding
Ralph Fletch
978-0440412038
Robbie is old enough to know that surviving school depends on one very important thing:
knowing what's cool. But what is cool in the third grade? he asks himself. He's got some
ideas. Cool is a grown-up name like "Rob" instead of "Robbie." Cool is walking to the bus
stop by yourself, and not having your mother there with a camera and a kiss goodbye. Cool is
jeans and a t-shirt — and definitely not Super Heroes underwear. Robbie knows he has work
to do in the cool department, but he's forgotten about one thing: Bo Haney, the school bully.
Bo is big, and he's been in the third grade for a long, long time. More importantly, when he
gives a nickname, it sticks. And all it takes is one lurch of the school bus to land Robbie right
in Bo's lap, and land him the nickname "Baby Wobbie." Now Robbie is convinced he's in for
the worst year ever. But third grade can be full of surprises, as he finds out, not the least of
which is his own resourcefulness. Young readers will cheer Robbie's ultimate success in this
gentle, realistic chapter book.
Julian is a quick fibber and a wishful thinker. And he is great at telling stories. He can make
people—especially his younger brother, Huey—believe just about anything. Armed with a
creative imagination and the ability to think quickly on his feet, Julian delights in telling
stories to his family. Although Julian’s ability to make people believe in anything usually
lands him in trouble, such as taking too many tastes from a lemon pudding meant for his
mother, everything ends on a positive note. Older readers will delight in these stories of
everyday family life, challenging themselves to think of humorous situations in their lives
around the home. Students will also be able to connect with Julian’s negotiation of a new
friendship with his new neighbor, a girl named Gloria. The book also features a table of
contents, which can facilitate students’ predictions of the stories Julian will tell to his family.
Other supportive features of the text include illustrations and a first person narration, which
can allow students an intimate glimpse inside of the thoughts and actions of Julian.
Holly fears that she will soon have a stepmother. Greg admires a girl and hopes to be her
boyfriend. Claire has nightmares. William thinks he is useless at everything. Samantha misses
her dad, who has left their family to marry another woman. Lisa is frightened by her angry
father. Natasha wants to be in the school concert but is uneasy because she is in a wheelchair.
These students are all in the same class. Mr. Speed is their fast-moving, funny, and caring
teacher who offers The Worry Web Site to his students in an effort to provide the opportunity
for them to type in their concerns anonymously. Members of the class address one another's
problems by adding their comments. Mr. Speed oversees and quietly intervenes when
necessary. Each chapter relates the story of one student. Character development is slight but
sufficient and is enhanced by the interaction of the students with one another throughout the
book. Their problems are realistic in that some of them do not have clear solutions. Wilson
shows that she understands the lives, fears, and worries of young people, and the book has
enough suspense, enhanced by frequent humor, for reluctant readers. Some other issues this
book includes are: Understanding Self and Others, Courage and Honor.
A story about a baseball loving boy's quest to save and place helpless stray dogs and his little
brother's unwavering desire to affectionately tag along. These two brothers learn the price of
sacrifice and other lessons in this coming-of-age story.
Mouse Fawley has just done something very, very dumb. No kid in his right mind would go
out of his way to enrage Marv Hammerman, the school bully--but when Mouse saw the
picture of the Neanderthal man, he just had to write Marv's name under it. Too bad Marv was
standing right behind him while he was doing it . Now Mouse has to choose between being on
the run and being killed by the school bully.
Sixth-graders Tommy, Angela, Faye, and the twins, Judge and Jury Jenkins, have been friends
forever. Now they're faced with new problems and need to find new solutions to them—even
if it means breaking the law. How can they help prevent an inevitable accident on Tommy's
street other than to try to stop cars from speeding past Tommy's young, deaf neighbor? Not
only must the Posse mastermind a plan, but Tommy must confront his doubts about his
mother's participation in a rally to fight racism. The last thing Tommy wants is to be singled
out as a Japanese American, so why does his mother insist on drawing attention to his family?
Twelve-year-old Cliff, the eldest of the six Abernathy children, looks back on a year of ups
and downs. This warm story neatly blends the humor and frustrations of growing up in a
large family headed by two sanguine parents. Each chapter, while centering on a particular
child, subtly weaves together household events, large and small. The episodes smoothly move
forward to the family's ultimate crisis: Brad, the gentlest of the children, is killed while riding
his bicycle. With remarkable restraint and understatement, Fletcher conveys the bewilderment
and grief as each of the Abernathy family members react to this loss. A hopeful ending
implies that Brad's memory will live on in the family's exchanges.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
R
R
R
R
R
R
S
(Continued- Growing Up: Feelings of Exclusion and Secretiveness can be Overwhelming and Confusing)
Iggie’s House
Judy Blume
9780440420224
In Plain Sight
Carol Otis Hurst
9780618196999
(Hardcover)
Love, Ruby Lavender Deborah
Wiles
9780152054786
Report Card, The
Andrew Clements
9780689845246
Staying Nine
Pam Courad
9780064403771
Stranded in Boringsville Catherine
Bateson
9780823421138
Donuthead
Sue Stauffacher
9780440419341
S
Each Little Bird That Sings
Deborah Wiles
9780152056575
S
Friendship, The
Logan Family Series
Mildred D. Taylor
9780140389647
Ida B.
K. Hannigan
9780060730260
S
S
T
Mississippi Bridge
Logan Family Series
Mildred D. Taylor
9780553159929
Double Dutch
Sharon Draper
9780689842313
In this coming to age story Winnie welcomes the Garber family into a previously all-white
neighborhood she learns the difference between good neighbor policies and friendship. Note
to the teacher: There is racial language used in this book.
After her beloved father leaves their Massachusetts farm in search of gold in California, Sarah
is forced to endure her mother's coldness and harsh discipline, but as she works hard to keep
the farm running, meeting each challenge with exceptional bravery, she comes to appreciate
her mother's strength and patience, and realizes the true cost of her father's recklessness.
When her quirky grandmother goes to Hawaii for the summer, nine-year-old Ruby learns to
survive on her own in Mississippi by writing letters, befriending chickens as well as the new
girl in town, and finally coping with her grandfather's death.
It’s true that fifth grader Nora Rose Rowley is really a genius, but don't tell anyone. Nora
always gets average grades so she can forgo the pressures. But when Nora gets one hundred
percent fed up over testing and the fuss everyone makes about grades, she brings home a
terrible report card just to prove a point. Pretty soon her teachers, parents, and the principal
are launching a massive effort to find out what's wrong. But can Nora convince them that tests
alone are a stupid way to measure intelligence?
With her tenth birthday but one week away, Heather is determined to remain nine years old
until her uncle's wacky girlfriend, Rosa Rita, shows her that growing up can be fun.
Following her parents’ separation, twelve-year-old Rain moves with her mother to the
country, where she befriends the unpopular boy who lives next door and also seeks a way to
cope with her feelings toward her father and his new girlfriend.
Franklin Delano Donuthead, a fifth-grader obsessed with hygiene and safety, finds an unlikely
friend and protector in Sarah Kervick, the tough new student who lives in a dirty trailer, bonds
with his mother, and is as "irregular" as he is. This is a hilarious and touching novel featuring
a neurotic, scared boy and a tougher-than-nails girl who each help the other in more ways than
they can imagine.
Comfort lives in a funeral home and has been to more than 200 funerals, so she thinks she
knows all about death. But then her great-uncle Edisto dies, and her great-great-aunt
Florentine slips away just six months later. At Florentine's funeral, Comfort is in charge of
watching her cousin, Peach--and only then does she realize just how difficult death can be.
Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper
in rural Mississippi in the 1930s. The interaction between the two men portrays how severely
the bonds of friendship can be tested against a backdrop of racism, peer pressure, and
individual rights.
Who is Ida B. Applewood? She is a fourth grader like no other, living a life like no other, with
a voice like no other, and her story will resonate long after you have put this book down. How
does Ida B cope when outside forces—life, really—attempt to derail her and her family and
her future? She enters her Black Period, and it is not pretty. But then, with the help of a
patient teacher, a loyal cat and dog, her beloved apple trees, and parents who believe in the
same things she does (even if they sometimes act as though they don't), the resilience that is
the very essence of Ida B triumph...and Ida B. Applewood takes the hand that is extended and
starts to grow up. This first novel is both very funny and extraordinarily moving, and it
introduces two shining stars—Katherine Hannigan and Ida B. Applewood.
During a heavy rainstorm in 1930s rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus
driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white
passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River. A terrifying moment occurs
that unites all the townspeople in a nightmare that will change their lives forever.
Delia loves Double Dutch more than just about anything, and she's really good at it -- so good
she and her teammates have a shot at winning the World Double Dutch Championships. Delia
would die if she couldn't jump -- but Delia has a secret, and it could keep her off the team
next year. Delia's friend Randy has a secret too, one that has him lonely and scared. And
while Delia and Randy struggle to keep their secrets, their school is abuzz with rumors about
what malicious mischief the terrible Tolliver twins -- who just may have a secret of their own
-- are planning. Why can't life be as easy for Delia as Double Dutch?
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
U
(Continued- Growing Up: Feelings of Exclusion and Secretiveness can be Overwhelming and Confusing)
Baseball in April and Other Stories
(Short Stories)
Gary Soto
9780152025670
U
Every Soul a Star
Wendy Mass
9780316002561
(Hardcover)
U
Hush
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142406007
U
Knots in my Yo-Yo String
Jerry Spinelli
978-0679887911
U
Loser
Jerry Spinelli
9780060540746
A contemporary classic about the pitfalls and triumphs of the teenage years. In this unique
collection of short stories, the small events of daily life reveal big themes-love and friendship,
youth and growing up, success and failure. Calling on his own experiences of growing up in
California's Central Valley, poet Gary Soto brings to life the joys and pains of young people
everywhere. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams
and desires belong to all of us.
Three middle schoolers are brought together at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground where
thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun.
Told from these three perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story
about strangers coming together under different circumstances and establishing unlikely
friendships. With breathtaking descriptions of nature and its ultimate phenomenon, the
eclipse, Every Soul a Star is a powerful and humorous story about dealing with change and
discovering one's place in the universe.
Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a
loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah. Now, everything is different.
Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not
all that has changed. Her once lively father, an African-American police officer, has become
depressed and quiet after he testified against white officers who killed a black teenager. The
racist and prejudice attacks are harsh. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a newfound religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave. And Evie, struggling to find
her way in a new city where kids aren't friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name,
wonders who she is.
"A master of those embarrassing, gloppy, painful, and suddenly wonderful things that happen
on the razor's edge between childhood and full-fledged adolescence" (The Washington Post),
Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli has penned his early autobiography with all the warmth,
humor, and drama of his best-selling fiction. From first memories through high school,
including first kiss, first punch, first trip to the principal's office, and first humiliating sports
experience, this is not merely an account of a highly unusual childhood. Rather, like
Spinelli's fiction, its appeal lies in the accessibility and universality of his life. Entertaining
and fast-paced, this is a highly readable memoir.
Even though his classmates from first grade on have considered him strange and called him a
loser, Donald Zinkoff's optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not
allow him to feel that way about himself. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show
that any name can someday become "hero."
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others
Title/Author
Summary
Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The
John Boyne
9780385751537
Clementine
Sarah Penny Packer
978-0786838837
Set in Berlin, 1942 - Bruno returns to his enormous home from school one day, he discovers
that all of his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and
the family must move from their home to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to
play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see
and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an
explorer again like he was back at home and decides that there must be more to this desolate
new place, Auschwitz, than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets
another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting
results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Clementine spends a lot of time in the principal's office. Since she's always coming up with
spectacular ideas, this lovable and realistic 3rd-grader is well-meaning, but has a talent for
trouble, and personality to spare. A true original, an empathetic human being with the
observant eye of a real artist and a quirky, matter-of-fact way of expressing herself.
Mama’s Bank Account
Kathryn Forbes
9780156563772
The charming adventures of the Mama, who gradually Americanizes her family with the aid
of her wit and understanding, and her immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco.
This bestselling book inspired the play, motion picture, and television series I Remember
Mama.
Whirligig
Paul Fleischman
9780440228356
When 16-year-old Brent Bishop inadvertently causes the death of a young woman, he is sent
on an unusual journey of repentance, building wind toys across the land. In a unique and
powerful novel, Newbery author Paul Fleischman traces Brent's healing pilgrimage from
Washington State to California, Florida, and Maine, and describes the many lives set into new
motion by the ingenious creations Brent leaves behind.
Michael Reilly has introduced a new game to Little Bill and his friends. You get twelve
chances to say something mean to another kid--and whoever comes up with the biggest insult
is the winner. Insults start flying: "Jose hops with the frogs in science lab!" "Andrew eats
frogs for dinner!" "Little Bill shoots baskets like a girl!"Little Bill tries to think of really mean
things to say in retaliation. But Dad teaches him a strategy that enables Little Bill to save face
while remaining the nice kid that he really is!
Although Song Lee is very shy in some ways (she is terrified of speaking in front of the
class), she brings a lot of her own flair to her second-grade classroom. For instance, when it's
her turn to talk about a place she's traveled, she dresses as a cherry blossom tree — cleverly
hiding her fear from the audience and bringing in a great image of her homeland, Korea.
That's not all — when she realizes the class has no more living pets, Song Lee brings in her
own salamander to share with her classmates. Later, when there's a fire drill, Song Lee makes
sure to rescue her pet before leaving the building.
Emily Arrow, the fastest runner and enthusiastic mathematician of Ms. Rooney’s second
grade class, is optimistic when Dawn Bosco, a new girl from Florida, is placed in her
classroom. Emily thinks they could become fast friends; however, when Dawn steals Emily’s
beloved unicorn toy and threatens her standing as the fastest runner of the class, Emily begins
to have second thoughts about this potential friendship. This text appeals to older readers
because they can relate to the issues of friendship in this book, especially of how to initiate
new friendships and handle issues of jealousy and lying. Emily is also a relatable character,
who loves to run on the playground and complete word problems in math, bur struggles with
reading and spelling in school.
When Jenny Archer receives a used camera from her grandparents, she fails to see the fun in
photography until she discovers an advertisement in the local newspaper for a photo contest.
With visions of the prizes of a computer and a mini television dancing in her head, Jenny
scopes out her neighborhood for the best candid shot, only to catch her neighbors engaging in
seemingly mysterious and possibly dangerous activities. Older readers will delight in Jenny’s
overactive imagination and challenge themselves to solve the neighborhood’s mysteries by
keeping track of the clues that Jenny photographs. Students will also be supported by the
illustrations that accompany some of the events of the story.
HI-B
L
Meanest Thing To Say, The
Bill Cosby
9780590956161
L
Song Lee in Room 2B
Suzy Kline
9780141304083
M
Fish Face
Patricia Giff Reilly
978-0440425571
M
Get the picture, Jenny Archer
Ellen Conford
978-0316153935
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
N
Catwings
Ursula K.Le Guin
978-0439551892
N
I, Amber Brown
Paula Danziger
978-0439071697
N
Magic Finger, The
Roald Dahl
978-0141302294
N
Only Emma
Sally Warner
9780142407110
N-T
Amazing Days of Abby Hayes
(Series)
Ann Mazer
http://www.scholastic.com/titles/ab
byhayes/books.htm
(Visit Abby Hayes’ site to find a list
of titles and summaries of each
book)
Mrs. Jane Tabby is the mother to four kittens, all who were mysteriously born with wings.
Mrs. Tabby wants her children to have a better life and longs to leave their terrible
neighborhood, which is filled with garbage, filth, and dangerous rats. Because of their gift of
wings, Mrs. Tabby encourages her kittens to fly away and seek a more beautiful and safe life.
Roger, Thelma, James, and Harriet venture to the forest and struggle to fit in their new
habitat. Beautiful illustrations accompany the text, which is sure to enthrall older readers as
they lose themselves in this adventurous fantasy world. Students will be captivated by the
politics of the forest as the mice and birds figure out what to do with the winged cats and hold
their breaths in suspense as the Owl attempts to restore order to the forest. Students will be
able to connect with the sense of adventure and independence that the kittens experience as
they set out alone in the world for the first time. Older students will be able to recognize and
connect with this situation since they are beginning to exert independence in their family,
social, and school settings.
Although Amber Brown is still dealing with the effects of her parents’ divorce, she is eagerly
anticipating celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas with her mom and her mother’s fiancé,
Max. However, when her father comes back from Paris, Amber is surprised with his exciting
news: Mr. Brown is renting a house in town. Conflicted by the tension of the joint custody
arrangement and frustrated that she cannot make her own decisions, Amber takes a stand and
decides to get her ears pierced, even though her mother has consistently said no and her father
is unaware of his ex-wife’s thoughts on the subject. Readers will be drawn to this text
because they will be able to relate to Amber’s experiences as a fourth grader, such as asserting
her independence, getting her ears pierced, and coping with the moving away and thought of
losing of her best friend, Justin. For students who have experienced the after effects of a
divorce in the family, they will be able to relate to Amber’s emotions and actions in the story.
Readers will also delight with Amber’s puns and jokes, which she occasionally uses to shield
herself from getting hurt. At first, students might be confused by the language structure
Amber uses to refer to herself: “I, Amber Brown.” However, at the end of the story Amber
reveals how she is trying to assert her identity. She explains, “it makes me strong to say my
name that way. Like I belong to myself…I just have to know that’s who I am.”
This book is told by a narrator with a very unusual gift – when she gets angry and points her
magic finger at someone, they better watch out! This time, she does not like that her
neighbors, the Gregg family, hunt animals for fun. When she uses her magic finger on them,
they will learn a lesson that they will never forget! Older children will like this book because
the Gregg family, once big hunters, learns what is like to be the hunted in a series of strange
and unusual situations.
Eight-year-old Emma McGraw is an only child who lives with her mom in their "cozy"
condo. When four-year-old Anthony Scarpetto moves in for a week while his parents are
away, Emma is not happy. He's loud, he smells, and he touches her stuff. And that's only half
of it! Emma has started at a new school, and has finally begun to make friends. But how can
she invite anyone over when annoying Anthony is there? Emma is in for a surprise, though.
As the week goes by, she starts to realize that having a "little brother" may not be as bad as
she thought.
Abigail "Abby" Hayes lives a relatively normal life with a successful and supportive family
and many friends. Abby aspires to be like her siblings, Isabel, Eva, and Alex, each of whom
excels in a variety of fields, including athletics and technology. Although fairly strong (she is
shown to be a natural swimmer), she is poor in math while rich in literature. Just because she
excels in writing, she still feels incomparable to her siblings, though her older sisters envy her
hair, and her brother looks up to her. Abby is a very good role model for young girls. Abby's
friends and relationships play a major role in her life, as well as her love for animals, notably
cats and dogs. She owns a kitten with Isabel named T-Jeff, a kitten she had once taken in
secretly when she found him in Look Before You Leap but was permitted to keep him
officially when her parents found out. Her favorite color is purple and her favorite grade
school teacher is Ms. Bunder, her creative writing teacher, and her favorite middle school
teacher is Ms. Bean, her art teacher, who also happens to be good friends with Ms. Bunder. A
distinguishing characteristic of Abby is her curly, red hair and blue eyes. She hopes to become
a writer, journalist, or writing teacher someday. Her major love interest is Simon, a saxophone
player a year older than her who goes to her school.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
O
Cockroach Cooties
L. Yep
9780786813384
O
Gooney Bird Greene
Lois Lowry
978-0440419600
O
Not-So-Weird Emma
Sally Warner
9780142408070
P
Angel for Solomon Singer, An
(Picture Book)
Cynthia Rylant
9780531070826
Felita
Nicholasa Mohr
9780141306438
P
P
Hundred Dresses, The
Eleanor Estes
9780152052607
P
Hundred Penny Box, The
Sandra Bell Mathas
9780142407028
P
Min and Jake
Janice S. Wong
9780374400217
Streetwise Teddy usually stays out of sight of the bully nicknamed Arnie-zilla. However,
when his little brother, Bobby, insults Arnie, Teddy must come to the rescue -- and become
the target of Arnie's wrath instead. Soon Teddy realizes, however, that only Bobby, his pet
cockroach, Hercules, and the creepy Bug Lady can keep Arnie-zilla at arm's length. Filled
with humor and warmth, this creepy-crawly tale is a tribute to resourcefulness and the unique
relationship that only brothers share.
Gooney Bird Greene shows up unexpectedly in Ms. Pidgeon’s second grade class one
October morning, decked out in pajamas and cowboy books, clutching a dictionary and lunch
box and explaining that she recently moved to Watertower from China via a magic carpet.
Gooney Bird takes on the role of the teacher during Ms. Pidgeon’s storytelling unit, giving her
classmates a glimpse into her quirky life and enlightening them with a variety of literary
elements necessary for a story, such as main characters, secondary characters, and dialogue,
as she tells the tales of the origin of her name and her adventure of moving to Watertower.
Even though the story takes place in a second grade classroom, older students will be
delighted by the sophisticated humor and word play and enjoy figuring out the double
meaning of the titles of Gooney Bird’s stories. For instance, when Gooney Bird proclaims
that she directed a symphony orchestra, one would guess that she directed them musically.
However, Gooney Bird’s tale eventually reveals that she actually provided them with traffic
directions. Students should also keep an eye out for the font changes throughout the story,
which signify the transition from Gooney Bird’s stories to the present day setting in her
classroom. This story also has a powerful message for readers in that everyone has stories
within themselves that are worthy, entertaining, and inspirational. Finally, the story integrates
some whimsical illustrations, which depict some main events of the story.
Emma Mcgraw is slowly making friends at her new school, but when Cynthia calls her weird,
Emma is shocked. They are supposed to be best friends! In response, Emma decides that
Cynthia's new name should be bossy pants, and she tells everyone in the class. Now the entire
third grade is trading nicknames. And while it starts out being funny, Emma begins to see the
downside of name-calling. But just when she decides it's time for apologies, her teacher
makes the most dreaded call of all-the one to everyone's parents.
Author Cynthia Rylant’s tells a heartwarming story about a lonely man living in a hotel in
New York City who longs for his home in Indiana. Always dreaming of things he loves most
but cannot have, he wanders the streets and finds a café and a welcoming smile that slowly
helps him to find happiness and see beauty in the life he leads.
In this vivid portrayal of a close-knit Hispanic community, Felita's parents promise she will
love their new neighborhood. Only Abuelita, her grandmother, understands how much Felita
will miss her old block, and her best friend Gigi. Nine-year-old Felita and her family
encounter racial discrimination and mild violence when they move because they are from
Puerto Rico. First published twenty years ago, Felita's compelling story has resonance for kids
today. Isolation is a social issue explored in this book.
A story about prejudice and understanding where a young girl comes to terms with the effects
that the teasing of her friends has had on a shy classmate. Though Maddie feels increasingly
uncomfortable with the way the other girls — led by her best friend, Peggy — joke with
Wanda, she doesn't have the courage to do anything about it. Then one day Wanda stops
coming to school. Maddie can't shake a bad feeling about Wanda's absence, but she pushes it
aside, preferring instead to think about the drawing contest, which she is sure Peggy will win.
Will Maddie side with the bully or will she make another choice as she learns more about who
she really is?
A timeless story of the relationship between a boy and his elderly relative. Michael loves his
great-great-aunt Dew. He especially loves to spend time with her and her beloved hundred
penny box, listening to stories about each of the hundred years of her life. Michael's mother
wants to throw out the battered old box that holds the pennies, but Michael understands that
the box itself is as important to Aunt Dew as the memories it contains.
Fifth-grader Minn, the tallest girl in school, begins a rocky friendship with Jake, a new
student who is not only very short, but is also afraid of the worms and lizards that Minn likes
to collect. Minn and Jake learn about themselves and friendship as they get to know one
another better.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
P
Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the
First Thanksgiving
(HF Picture Book)
Joseph Bruchac
9780152060442
P
Worry Website, The
Jacqueline Wilson
9780440419297
Q
Cornelia and the Audacious
Escapades of the Summerset Sisters
Leslie M. Blume
9780440421108
Q
Drita, My Home Girl
Jenny Lombard
9780142409053
Fourth Grade Rats
Jerry Spinelli
9780590442442
Q
Q
Fox in the Frost
Ben Baglio
978-0439230179
Q
Funny Frank
Dick King-Smith
9780440418801
Q
Goat in the Garden
Ben Baglio
9780590187527
Guinea Pig in the Garage
Ben Baglio
978-0340667293
Q
Q
Homework Machine, The
Dan Gutman
9780689876790
Q
Horse in the House
Ben Baglio
9780439343879
Q
Just Juice
Karen Hesse
9780590033831
Lamb in the Laundry
Ben Baglio
9780439086424
Q
Squanto. Courageous. Generous. Kind. His fate was to be separated from his tribe and family.
His destiny was to save a nation. In 1620, when a British ship called the Mayflower arrived on
the shore of what would be Plymouth, the settlers were not prepared for the struggles to come.
Without the friendship of Squanto, who taught the newcomers the ways of the land and the
animals, and how to survive in this rugged place they now called home, the colony would not
have survived. When autumn came, their hard work produced a bountiful harvest, and the two
peoples came together to feast in the spirit of brotherhood--a feast we still celebrate today.
Six wonderful short stories about the members of Mr Speed’s primary school class and their
special Worry Website. The website allows everyone in the class to type in their worries
anonymously and receive advice from their classmates -- whether they want it or not! This
book also explores the issue of growing up.
Eleven-year-old Cornelia is the daughter of two world-famous pianists--a legacy that should
feel fabulous, but instead feels just plain lonely. She surrounds herself with dictionaries and
other books to isolate herself from the outside world. But when a glamorous neighbor named
Virginia Somerset moves next door with her servant Patel and a mischievous French bulldog
named Mister Kinyatta, Cornelia discovers that the world is a much more exciting place than
she had originally thought.
A poignant story about the difficulties of leaving everything behind and the friendships that
help you get through it. Drita learns that friendship can bloom and overcome even a vast
cultural divide at the same time she learns about who she is.
Fourth graders are tough. They aren't afraid of spiders. They say no to their moms. They
push first graders off the swings. And they never, ever cry. Suds knows that now that he's in
fourth grade, he's supposed to be a rat. But whenever he tries to act like one, something goes
wrong. Can Suds's friend Joey teach him to toughen up...or will Suds remain a fourth grade
wimp?
It's Christmas at Animal Ark, but for a pair of foxes it's far from the season of goodwill. Mrs.
Ponsonby is convinced they're a danger to her dogs and want them driven out of the area. But
the local farmers are thinking of a more drastic solution. Can Mandy and James save the foxes
from being injured...or worse?
Being a duck isn’t all it’s quacked up to be. But don’t try telling that to Frank—he’s a chicken
with a dream. Gertie the hen is appalled when her son Frank wants to swim with the ducks,
but Jemima and her mother, the farmer's wife, make him a special outfit so that his dream can
come true.
Houdini the goat is in trouble. He keeps escaping and eating Mr. Western's prize plants. Now
Mr. Western is taking matters into his own hands. Mandy and her friend James help Houdini
and learn about themselves in the process.
When Mandy asks Rachel Farmer to look after a neighbor's guinea pigs, Rachel is thrilled.
When her parents see how responsible she is, she's sure they'll let her have one of her own.
But then Rachel loses one of the babies, and she's worried she'll never be allowed to have a
pet!
Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a
geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big
secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their
homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention.
And attention is exactly what you don't want when you are keeping a secret. This foursome
learns a big lesson about themselves and about life.
Mandy and James are sad that their friend Wilfred Bennett has to sell his riding stables.
Things get even worse when Sam Western turns the land into a campsite and wants everyone
to forget that the stables ever existed. Now campers are telling stories of a ghostly horse and
rider passing through the campsite - and vanishing into the night air! Mandy and James don't
believe the spooky tales, but can they figure out what's really going on?
Realizing that her father's lack of work has endangered her family, nine-year-old Juice
decides that she must return to school and learn to read in order to help their chances of
surviving and keeping their house. Another social issue explored in this book is stereotypes.
Little Jenny Spiller has become fast friends with a tiny black lamb who was rejected by its
mother. When Jenny gets trapped in a collapsed shed, the lamb's loud cries become a lifesaving call for help. Through this experience Jenny learns more about herself.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Q
Q
Q
Q
HI-B
Q
Q
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
Owl in the Office
Ben Baglio
9780439084161
Pigglet in a Playpen
Ben Baglio
9780812096682
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Judy Blume
9780142408810
There’s a Boy in the Girls’
Bathroom
Louis Sacher
9780394805726
Year of the Dog, The
Grace Lin
9780316060028
Year of the Rat, The
Grace Lin
9780316033619
R
Because of Winn-Dixie
Kate DiCamillo
9780763616052
R
Circle of Gold
Candy Dawson Boyd
978-0590407540
R
Last Holiday Concert, The
Andrew Clements
9780689845253
Rules
Cynthia Lord
9780439443838
R
S
Donuthead
Sue Stauffacher
9780440419341
S
Each Little Bird That Sings
Deborah Wiles
9780152056575
The Welford Animal Shelter has always been a place for homeless and hurt animals. What
will happen to the animals if the shelter has to close? Mandy and James organize a huge pet
show to raise enough money to keep the shelter open.
Mandy, the daughter of two veterinarians, hopes to save an undersized piglet from destruction
by turning her into a prize-winning pig.
Peter Hatcher feels like his little brother, Fudge, receives all the attention. Fudge is a twoyear-old who gets away with everything and makes Peter feel like a "fourth grade nothing."
What can Peter do to make his parents to pay attention to him for a change.
An unmanageable, but lovable, eleven-year-old misfit learns to believe in himself when he
gets to know the new school counselor, who is a sort of misfit too. Other issues this book
explores are bullying and fitting in.
It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this
is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and
finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds.
In this sequel to Year of the Dog, Pacy has another big year in store for her. The Year of the
Dog was a very lucky year: she met her best friend Melody and discovered her true talents.
However, the Year of the Rat brings big changes: Pacy must deal with Melody moving to
California, find the courage to forge on with her dream of becoming a writer and illustrator,
and learn to face some of her own flaws. Pacy encounters prejudice, struggles with
acceptance, and must find the beauty in change.
The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the
Winn-Dixie supermarket -- and comes out with a dog. With the help of her new pal, whom
she names Winn-Dixie, Opal makes a variety of new, interesting friends and spends the
summer collecting stories about them and thinking about her absent mother. But because of
Winn-Dixie, or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that
friendship -- and forgiveness -- can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.
When Mattie’s father was alive, everything seemed perfect. But her world changed when he
died. Her mother is always angry and never smiles. Her twin brother seems quiet and
withdrawn. And Mattie doesn’t know what to do. She does know that Mother’s Day is
coming, and she desperately wants to buy her mom the perfect gift: a beautiful golden pin.
But Mattie doesn’t have the money for the pin, and her mother doesn’t even want to celebrate.
That’s when Mattie decides to take matters into her own hands. That’s when she decides that
she’ll do what it takes to bring her family together again.
Life is usually easy for popular fifth grader Hart Evans, but when his music teacher puts him
in charge of the holiday concert, Hart must use all of his leadership skills to unite the other
students. Bullying is another topic which is explored in this book.
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. This is near impossible when you have a
brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying
to teach David the rules of what is normal. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a
surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her
own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is
normal?
Franklin Delano Donuthead, a fifth-grader obsessed with hygiene and safety, finds an unlikely
friend and protector in Sarah Kervick, the tough new student who lives in a dirty trailer, bonds
with his mother, and is as "irregular" as he is. This is a hilarious and touching novel featuring
a neurotic, scared boy and a tougher-than-nails girl who each help the other in more ways than
they can imagine.
Comfort lives in a funeral home and has been to more than 200 funerals, so she thinks she
knows all about death. But then her great-uncle Edisto dies, and her great-great-aunt
Florentine slips away just six months later. At Florentine's funeral, Comfort is in charge of
watching her cousin, Peach--and only then does she realize just how difficult death can be.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
S
S
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
Friendship, The
Logan Family Series
Mildred D. Taylor
9780140389647
Hang Tough, Paul Mather
Alfred Slote
9780064401531
S
Journey
Patricia MacLachlan
978-0440408093
S
Junebug and the Reverend
Alice Mead
9780440415718
Little Gentleman
Phillippa Pearce
9780060731601
Me, Mop, and the Moon Dance Kid
Walter Dean Myers
9780440403968
S
S
S
S
Mississippi Bridge
Logan Family Series
Mildred D. Taylor
9780553159929
Skunk Scout
L. Yep
9780786817146
T
Any Small Goodness
Tony Johnston
9780439233842
T
Carolina Crow Girl
Valerie Hobbs
9781440109010
T
Cassie Binegar
Patricia MacLachlan
9780064401951
Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper
in rural Mississippi in the 1930s. The interaction between the two men portrays how severely
the bonds of friendship can be tested against a backdrop of racism, peer pressure, and
individual rights.
Paul hasn't been allowed to do much of anything, much less play his favorite sport, baseball.
He's got leukemia, and it's put him into the hospital several times already. His parents are so
worried; they've forbidden him to play the game he loves so much. But Paul is a winner. His
team needs him, and he won't give up without a fight. Paul Mather is determined to pitch
every inning...to keep playing baseball, and to keep hanging tough, no matter what the odds.
When his mother walks out on 11-year-old Journey and his older sister, Cat, the boy refuses
to believe she will not return. He listens to the constant clicking of the shutter as his
grandfather takes possession of Cat's cast-aside camera, asserting that "sometimes pictures
show us what is really there." Journey questions the value of this incessant picture-taking, yet
pores through his grandmother's photo album, trying to patch together a fragmented past that
is frustratingly out of focus. He hopes that the truth will be found in a box of family photos
that his mother left in tiny scraps under her bed. Setting out to piece the pictures back
together, Journey finally admits that this dream is as hopeless as his mother's return. It is his
grandfather, on whom Journey has taken out much of his anger, who eventually answers the
child's most troubling questions. The wise older man assures Journey that he is not to blame
for his mama's departure, and shares a truth that is at the heart of the novel: although
everything in life--from photographs to families--is not perfect, "things can be good enough.”
Having moved out of the housing project and into a new home along with his mother and
sister, ten-year-old Junebug discovers that bullies are everywhere and that the elderly can
make great friends.
A young girl's dull life is transformed when she meets and befriends an extraordinary talking
mole that likes to be read to and tell of his own past exploits throughout the centuries.
Although adoption has taken the children out of the New Jersey institution where they grew
up, eleven-year-old T.J. and his younger brother Moondance remain involved with their friend
Mop's relentless attempts to become adopted herself and to wreak revenge on their baseball
rivals the obnoxious Eagles. Values, character, cultural diversity and sports are other topics
which are explored in this book.
During a heavy rainstorm in 1930s rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus
driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white
passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River. A terrifying moment occurs
that unites all the townspeople in a nightmare that will change their lives forever.
A movie-loving boy is reluctant to go on a camping trip with his uncle and younger brother.
Nothing can prepare him for his meeting with Mother Nature. Soon Teddy, Bobby, and Uncle
Curtis find themselves in the woods, sleeping on rocks, and battling raccoons, mosquitoes,
and poison oak. Through it all, Teddy is determined to prove he is just as smart as his little
brother.
A Hispanic family lives in L.A. Not the L.A. where there are fast cars, people who are too
rich and too poor – this L.A. is a place where random acts of generosity and goodwill improve
the lives of the community. Any Small Goodness is a novel filled with hope, love, and
warmth. Stereotyping and family are two other issues explored in this book.
Carolina lives with her mother and baby sister in an old school bus. They are always
traveling, and Carolina has to start in a new school every year and leave just when she's
getting settled. But this stop, things are different. First Carolina finds an abandoned baby crow
and decides to care for him until he can fly. Then she meets Stefan, who lives in the mansion
near where they've parked the bus. The two become friends, and Carolina starts to set down
roots. Valerie Hobbs explores the fine line between safety and stagnation, rootlessness and
freedom.
After her grandfather's death, Cassie longs for an orderliness to life -' a pattern -' that doesn't
exist among her raucous, loving family. During her family's first summer in a weathered old
house by the sea, Cassie learns to accept change and to find her own space.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
T
T
Dillon Dillon
Kate Banks
9780374417154
Going Home
Nicholasa Mohr
9780141306445
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
T
Half and Half
Lensey Namioka
9780440418900
T
Joey Pigza Loses Control
Jack Gantos
9780064410229
Randall’s Wall
Carol Fenner
9780689835582
Sam I Am
Ilene Cooper
9780439439671
Saving Lilly
Peg Kehret
9780671034238
T
T
T
T
T
T
U
Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye
Pansie Hart Flood
9780876142042
(Hardcover)
What Jamie Saw
Caroline Coman
9781590786390
Zulu Dog
Anton Ferreira
9781440109010
Ella Enchanted
Gail C. Levine
9780064407052
U
Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt,
The
Patricia MacLachlan
9780064402651
U
Loser
Jerry Spinelli
9780060540746
During the summer that he turns ten years old, Dillon Dillon learns the surprising story behind
his name and develops a relationship with three loons, living on the lake near his family's
New Hampshire cabin, that help him make sense of his life.
Everything in Felita's life seems to change the year she turns twelve. Felita spends her
summer in Puerto Rico, where she struggles to fit in. By the time summer has ended, Felita is
beginning to feel at home with herself and her Puerto Rican heritage. Cultural Diversity is
another topic that is explored in this book.
Fiona Chang is half and half: Her father is Chinese and her mother is Scottish. Fiona looks
more like her father than her mother, so people always expect her to be more interested in her
Chinese half than her Scottish half. Fiona struggles to fit in and lately even Fiona's confused
about who she really is.
Joey, who is still taking medication to keep him from getting too wired, goes to spend the
summer with the hard-drinking father he has never known and tries to help the baseball team
he coaches win the championship.
Artistically talented but socioeconomically underprivileged, a fifth-grade boy has built a wall
of defense to protect himself from the pain of human relationships--a wall which begins to
crumble when a dynamic and compassionate classmate decides to interfere in his life.
Twelve-year-old Sam, the son of a Jewish father and Christian mother, struggles to
understand religion and its role in his family's life during the Hanukkah and Christmas
holidays.
After they write a report on the mistreatment of circus animals, sixth graders Erin and David
learn their teacher has planned a field trip to the Glitter Tent Circus, which has been cited for
animal cruelty. Along with their classmates, they try to raise the awareness of such cruelty
and learn about themselves along the way.
After Sylvia Freeman and her mother move to Wakeview, South Carolina, Sylvia isn't too
sure she is going to like it very much. Her only friend is a ninety-nine-year-old woman who
lives down the road. Soon Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye become best friends. Then, one day, a
stranger comes to town with news about the past that changes Sylvia's life forever. She
develops a sense of place and learns how to fit in wherever she goes.
This is a story of survival. Having fled to a family friend's hillside trailer after his mother's
boyfriend tried to throw his baby sister against a wall, nine-year-old Jamie finds himself
living an existence full of uncertainty and fear. Slowly the characters learn how to trust the
people around them—and each other. Cultural Diversity is another topic explored in this
book.
In post-apartheid South Africa a boy finds a bush dog who gets injured by a wild animal. The
dog becomes a catalyst for friendship between the boy and a white-farmer’s daughter.
Based on Cinderella, this is an entertaining story of Ella of Frell, who at birth was given the
gift of obedience by a fairy. Ella soon realizes that this gift is little better than a curse, for how
can she truly be herself if at anytime anyone can order her to hop on one foot, or cut off her
hand, or betray her kingdom and she'll have to obey? Against a bold tapestry of princes,
ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella's quest to break the curse once
and for all and discover who she really is.
Minna wishes for many things. She wishes she understood the quote taped above her mother's
typewriter: Fact and fiction are different truths. She wishes her mother would stop writing
long enough to really listen to her. She wishes her house were peaceful and orderly like her
friend Lucas's. Most of all, she wishes she could find a vibrato on her cello and play Mozart
the way he deserves to be played. Minna soon discovers that some things can't be found-they
just have to happen. And as she waits for her vibrato to happen, Minna begins to understand
some facts and fictions about herself.
Even though his classmates from first grade on have considered him strange and a loser,
Donald Zinkoff's optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not allow
him to feel that way about himself.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
U
Nothing But the Truth
Avi
9780380719075
Ninth grader Philip Malloy is forbidden to join the track team because of his failing grades in
English class. Convinced that the teacher just doesn't like him, Philip concocts a plan to get
transferred into a different homeroom. Instead of standing silently during the national anthem,
he hums along. And ends up on trial.
U
Tangerine
Edward Bloor
9780152057800
Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero brother Erik, fights for the
right to play soccer despite his near blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that
damaged his eyesight. Paul learns about himself as he works towards overcoming his
difficulties.
U
Watsons Go To Birmingham –
1963, The
Christopher Paul Curtis
9780440414124
Wringer
Jerry Spinelli
9780064405782
Becoming Naomi León
Pam Muñoz Ryan
9780439856218
A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family,
the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be
too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can
shape him up.
U
V
V
V
Crash
Jerry Spinelli
9780679885504
Save Queen of Sheba
Louise Moeri
9780140371482
V
Stargirl
Jerry Spinelli
9780440416777
W
Freak the Mighty
Rodman Philbrick
9780439286060
X
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
9780142403709
Legend of Buddy Bush, The
Shelia p. Moses
9781416907169
Giver, The
Lois Lowry
9780440237686
X
Y
As Palmer comes of age, he must either accept the violence of being a wringer at his town's
annual Pigeon Day or find the courage to oppose it. Newbery Medal winner Jerry Spinelli's
most powerful novel yet is a gripping tale of how one boy learns how not to be afraid.
A riveting novel about family and identity, drawn from Pam Muñoz Ryan’s own Mexican and
Oklahoman heritages. Naomi Soledad León Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young
life. But according to Gram's self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive
thinking. Life with Gram and her little brother, Owen, is happy and peaceful until their
mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and
challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive
behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make
him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.
The vicious attack on their wagon train killed almost everyone - except David and his younger
sister, whom he calls Queen of Sheba. The two are stranded on the deserted trail and struggle
to survive. And although David is seriously hurt, he knows that frail Queen of Sheba is
counting on him. He can only hope that their parents are somewhere up ahead.
From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum
with the murmur of "Stargirl, Stargirl." She captures Leo Borlock's heart with just one smile.
She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are
enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that
makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very
thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist
Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and
inspiration of first love.
Meet learning disabled Maxwell Kane, narrator of Freak the Mighty. He’s a timid soul stuck
in the body of a teenage giant with size 14 shoes. Haunted by a dark secret in his past, he
hides out in his basement room, avoiding the world. But when a new kid who’s birth defect
has affected his body but not his brilliant mind moves in next door Max’s life changes
forever. The two outcasts form the ‘normal’ world team up to become “Freak the Mighty.”
Like knights of old they defend the weak, right every wrong–and solve the mystery of Max’s
past. Proving once and for all that courage comes in all sizes.
Set in 1935, when guards actually lived on Alcatraz Island with their families, Choldenko's
novel brings humor to the complexities of family dynamics and illuminates the real struggle
of a kid trying to free himself from the "good boy" stance he's taken his whole life.
The day Uncle Goodwin "Buddy" Bush came from Harlem all the way back home to
Rehobeth Road in Rich Square, North Carolina, is the day twelve-year-old Pattie Mae Sheals'
life changes forever. Pattie Mae Sheal grows up and learn about herself in this book.
December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life
assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the
Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has
been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man — the
man called only the Giver — he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile
perfection of his world.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Y
Monument, The
Gary Paulsen
9780440407829
(Continued - Courage and Honor: Understanding Self and Others)
HI-B
Z
HI-B
Monster
Walter Dean Myers
9780064407311
It all begins when Rocky follows Mick Strum around town while he sketches its people,
animals and graveyard. Mick has been commissioned by Rocky's Kansas town to create a
memorial to their war dead. As Rocky learns to respect Mick and his talents, he helps her to
develop her own artistic sensibilities. But the townspeople see things in Mick's drawings that
they don't want to know or accept about themselves. Can Mick help them accept one
monument that will be meaningful to everyone?
Steve Harmon: 16 years old and on trial for murder. His parents' hearts break as they watch
the drama unfold from their seats in the back of the courtroom. Did Steve serve as the lookout
when Bobo Evans and James King robbed the drugstore and then killed the store's owner in
the commotion? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is he being framed by a
couple of losers he used to call friends? In the tension-filled courtroom, reality begins to blur
for Steve. How on earth did he get here? Is he a monster?
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Culture and Diversity: Responding to Racism, Stereotypes and Prejudices
Title/Author/ISBN #
Summary
The Legend of Freedom Hill
(Picture Book)
Linda J. Altman
978-1584301691
Black Angels
R. Murphy
978-0440229346
Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The
John Boyne
9780385751537
HI-B
Color of My Words, The
Lynn Joseph
9780064472043
M
Molly’s Pilgram
(Picture Book)
Barbara Cohen
978-0439148689
M
Other Side, The
(Picture Book)
Jacqueline Woodson
978-0399231162
Brothers
Yin
9780399234064
N
N
Creativity
John Steptoe
978-0340749234
A modern American tall tale. The story of how a free African American girl, Rosabel, and a
Jewish girl, Sophie, living in California during the gold rush rescue Sophie’s mother from a
slave catcher by discovering a gold vein. This book is full of great historical references, as
well as being set against cross-cultural acceptance. Kids will enjoy relating the story to what
they have learned about the American West, and laws pertaining to slavery.
During the summer of 1961, 11-year-old Celline discovers the existence of angels. "I believe
in angels because I've seen them... three naked black girls with creamy white wings, throwing
stones on my hopscotch board.... The angels come every day now since the trouble started."
The "trouble" is that Celli's beloved housekeeper, Sophie, is stirring up the black community
of Mystic, Georgia, with talk of the civil rights movement. Celli is frightened for Sophie, and
knows the folks on her side of town--"the white side"--won't tolerate her activism much
longer. But when Celli begins to see the small black angels around her home, she feels
strangely comforted: "They never speak to me, but somehow their presence fills me with
hope." Then a stranger with a secret about Celli's past comes to town the same week as the
Freedom Riders, and Celli discovers her fate is tied to Sophie's in a way she never dreamed
possible. Now Celli must find the courage, in a dangerous time and place, to stand up for what
she knows is right.
Set in Berlin, 1942 - Bruno returns to his enormous home from school one day, he discovers
that all of his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and
the family must move from their home to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to
play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see
and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an
explorer again like he was back at home and decides that there must be more to this desolate
new place, Auschwitz, than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets
another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting
results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a
country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching
her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to
be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her
own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform
the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.
Molly and her parents are a Jewish family who have emigrated from Russia to the United
States to escape religious persecution. Molly is the only Jewish child in third grade. When
Thanksgiving arrives, the teacher assigns a project to make a Pilgrim doll. Molly is
embarrassed by her mother's attempts to help with her Thanksgiving project. She makes a
pilgrim doll — but dresses it in Russian clothing. Soon, however, Molly learns that it takes all
kinds of "pilgrims" to make a Thanksgiving. This story is very much based on the traditional
Thanksgiving story which is highly fabricated. At the end of the book it says that
Thanksgiving was based directly on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which is misleading. But,
the book’s message is still an important one—that many of us originally came to this country
for religious freedom and other similar reasons, and that ties us together in a way we often
forget.
Clover has always wondered why a fence separates the black side of town from the white
side. But this summer when Annie, a white girl from the other side, begins to sit on the fence,
Clover grows more curious about the reason why the fence is there and about the daring girl
who sits on it, rain or shine. And one day, feeling very brave, Clover approaches Annie. After
all, why should a fence stand in the way of friendship?
When Ming arrives in San Francisco after the long boat journey from China, his older
brothers waste no time warning him: "Chinese should not go outside Chinatown." But Ming
risks doing just that, and when he meets Patrick, he knows the young Irish boy has a kind
heart, and begins a remarkable friendship that brings their two very different communities
together.
When a boy named Hector joins Charles's class, Charles finds the new boy's dark skin and
straight hair confusing. How can Hector speak Spanish, be Puerto Rican, and have the same
skin color as Charles, who is African American? This confusion sparks discussion about
shared heritage and language.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Culture and Diversity: Responding to Racism, Stereotypes and Prejudices)
N
Key Collection, The
Andrea Cheng
978-0805071535
(Hardcover)
N
My Name Is Maria Isabel
Alma Flor Ada
978-0689802171
N
Shadow of the Wolf
Gloria Whelan
9780679881087
O
Fudge
Charlotte Towner Graeber
9780671702885
O
Maxie, Rosie and Earl, Partners in
Grime
Barbara Park
9780679806431
O
Mouse Called Wolf, A
Dick King-Smith
9780375800665
O
Quail Club, The
Carolyn Marsden
9780763634223
O
Rats!
Jan Cutler
9780786812257
HI-B
O
Tamika and The Wisdom Rings
Camille Yarbrough
9780940975675
Xiao Jimmy's Grandma Ni Ni is his favorite person in all the world. Ni Ni cooks delicious
jiao zi, teaches Jimmy Chinese characters, and always has wonderful stories and fascinating
objects--like the key collection--to share with him. So when Jimmy learns that Ni Ni must
move far away to California, he feels he is losing his best friend. In time, however, Jimmy
discovers there are ways to bridge distance, and to make new friends in the process. This
warm and reassuring novel explores a special relationship that crosses cultures and
generations, and holds strong when tested. The essential references to Chinese culture are
conveyed with skill and clarity.
When Maria Lopez moves to the United States from Puerto Rico and faces her first day at
school, she finds herself in a classroom with two other Marias. Re-named Mary by her
teacher, who does not know that Maria was named after her grandmothers, Maria cannot
respond to her new name. Not until she writes a paper on My Greatest Wish does she become
Maria again in this story about the value of heritage and its impact on the individual self.
The woods of southern Michigan are getting crowded, so Libby Mitchell and her family load
up their covered wagon and move north. They settle on the shores of Lake Michigan--right
next to the Indian camp where Libby's friend Fawn lives! But Libby and Fawn soon find out
that greedy men are trying to cheat the Indians out of their land. Now the girls must think of a
way to stop them--before the people and animals who call the forest their home lose it forever.
Graeber deals with a normal and recurrent childhood theme: a child's desire to have a pet and
the parental skepticism that goes along with it. She also portrays some of the responsibilities
pet ownership demands in this story of nine-year-old Chad, whose wish for a puppy is
curtailed when his mother finds out that she is going to have twins. All ends well, though, as
Chad proves that he can care for Fudge, and he also learns that he has to make some sacrifices
of his own in the process. Characters are real, the action moves quickly, and the story line will
interest children. While Chad may be more understanding than most children, his responses
and solutions are believable. Values are tested and explored in this book.
At first it seems as though Maxie, Rosie, and Earl have nothing in common. Maxie is too
smart for his own good, Rosie is a born tattler, and Earl can't stop cracking up when he reads
out loud in class. But when all three kids land outside the principal's office in disgrace, they
can't help comparing notes. Just when they think there's no chance of a reprieve, the fire
alarm goes off. There's only one thing for three doomed nerds to do -- head straight for the
exit doors and dive into the Dumpster!
Wolf has a big name for such a little mouse. But the name fits. His favorite pastime is
listening to Mrs. Honeybee, the lady of the house, play the piano. If only he could sing along
to the music! One day, Wolf decides to try -- and to his surprise, out of his mouth comes a
perfect melody. Then an accident leaves Mrs. Honeybee in danger, and it's up to Wolf to save
her... the only way he knows how.
Oy lives in America now, but she loves to go to the back room of Pak's auto shop on
Saturdays to learn traditional Thai dances. She loves it almost as much as being a member of
the Quail Club - five friends who gather after school to hatch and care for baby quail. When
the teacher announces a talent show, Oy knows how proud her family and Pak would be to
see her step onstage in her beautiful gold-threaded dress from Thailand. But bossy Liliandra
vows to kick her out of the Quail Club if she won't team up for a very different kind of dance.
Someone will be disappointed. But who?
The Fraser brothers are back in this lighthearted sequel to "No Dogs Allowed." Now entering
fourth grade, Jason wonders if it isn't time to find a new look in clothing and acquires an
unwanted girlfriend whom Mrs. Fraser unwittingly invites to dinner. Edward, a first-grader,
must face a pre-Halloween haunted house complete with spaghetti brains, and experiences
mother-hood up close when his pet rat Spike, who isn't supposed to, has babies. With
humorous black-and-white drawings, these five stories perfectly capture the brothers' neverending adventures.
Tamika loves to wonder. But sometimes wondering gets Tamika into trouble, especially when
she doesn't think before she acts. So Mama and Daddy share words of wisdom with Tamika
and they give her sparkling, colorful rings (each one representing words of wisdom), so
whenever Tamika starts wondering, she can look at the rings and remember. But lately
Tamika and her family's safety have been in danger. Eight year old Tamika suffers the biggest
tragedy of her life. Tamika finds strength in her family, her friends, and herself as she copes
with the murder of her father by drug dealers. Values is another issue explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
O
P
(Continued - Culture and Diversity: Responding to Racism, Stereotypes and Prejudices)
Tea With Milk
(Picture Book)
Allen Say
9780547237473
Home at Last
Kathryn Lasky
978-0439206440
P
Honeysuckle House
Andrea Cheng
9781886910997
(Hardcover)
R
How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay
Julia Alverez
9780440418702
R
Iggie’s House
Judy Blume
9780440420224
Jacket, The
Andrew Clements
9780689860102
R
S
Seedfolks
Paul Fleischman
9780064472074
S
Star Fisher
Lawrence Yep
9780140360035
After growing up near San Francisco, a young Japanese woman returns with her parents to
their native Japan, but she feels foreign and out of place. This story also explores the issue of
understanding self and others.
After her dramatic release from quarantine and reunion with her family, Sofia moves to the
North End of Boston, where the Monaris start their new lives in their new country. While her
parents struggle to make ends meet, Sofia must adjust to her American school, friends and
job. There is also lots of Spanish with English translations, which makes this book good for
English language learners and also for English speaking students to learn some Spanish.
Alienation, longing, prejudice, and cultural difference is touched on in this immigrant story
told in the voices of two ten-year-old girls. Sarah and Tina are fourth graders. The most
important thing in the world to Sarah - American-born Chinese - is the recent departure of her
best friend, Victoria. She misses her terribly. Tina has just recently moved to Cincinnati from
Shanghai, and is trying to make sense of a whole new world - pretty much clueless to all the
things Sarah is hip to. The two girls are paired together in school, as if Asian appearance
were proof of parallel lives and experience. It's the daily, common stuff of childhood intrigue
that finally manages to connect their stories and forge a friendship. A whole constellation of
adult concerns swirl around them - green card worries, assimilation, absent fathers, family
tensions This is a story which blends tears and games, drama and play.
Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tia Lola, his
quirky, "carismatica," and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when
she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami. Like her stories for adults,
Julia Alvarez's first middle-grade book sparkles with magic as it illuminates a child's
experiences living in two cultures.
When Winnie welcomes the Garber family into a previously all-white neighborhood she
learns the difference between good neighbor policies and friendship. Note to the teacher:
There is racial language used in this book.
After wrongly accusing a boy--an African American boy—of stealing his brother's jacket,
Phil--a white boy--has some hard thinking to do. And a tough question for his mom: "How
come you never told me I was prejudiced?" This seemingly small school incident turns into a
painful, but ultimately satisfying, learning opportunity for the sixth grader, as he explores the
myriad influences in his life and the way his thought patterns have formed... and finds a new
friend in the process. The intellectual evolution Phil goes through may be somewhat facile for
a child his age, but Andrew Clements's message will undoubtedly hit home for many readers.
This is exactly the kind of situation that arises every day in schools (and offices and buses) all
over the world.
A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially
to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears
a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly,
the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha's heart with a
harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil's dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and
even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead. Thirteen very different voices
-- old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful -- tell one amazing story about a
garden that transforms a neighborhood.
Here is the true account of the author's Chinese mother and her family's struggle to find
respect in a small West Virginian town. In 1927, 15-year-old Joan Lee, a U.S. citizen, and her
family move from Ohio to West Virginia to open a laundry business. Joan and her siblings
speak English, but her parents only know Chinese. When they arrive in town, they are
harassed by a family of white bigots, and welcomed by a kind landlord. Joan believes her
desire for respect and acceptance mirrors the Chinese legend of the star fisher — a creature
that sees with two sets of eyes. Joan sees life as an Asian and as an American. Young adults
will learn to appreciate the struggles of Asian Americans and the right of all people to be
treated with respect.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Culture and Diversity: Responding to Racism, Stereotypes and Prejudices)
T
Steal Away…to freedom
Jennifer Armstrong
978-0590469210
U
Baseball in April and Other Stories
(Short Stories)
Gary Soto
9780152025670
U
Weedflower
Cynthia Kadohata
9781416975663
V
Esperanza Rising
Pam Munoz Ryan
9780439120425
X
Kira, Kira
Cynthia Kadohata
9780689856402
Y
If You Come Softly
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142406014
Susannah, a teenage orphan, is reluctantly transplanted from Vermont to Virginia and
Bethlehem, the slave assigned to her, decide to escape together. The two young women, who
alternate as narrators, have very different points of view: to Susannah, teaching her slave to
read is merely a project; in leaving her stern uncle's farm, she runs only the risk of being
brought back. For Bethlehem, both learning to read and running away are deadly dangerous
but the potential rewards are beyond price. Decades later, the two women are reunited in
Bethlehem's slum apartment, where she is on her deathbed. There, they tell their story to
Susannah's naive granddaughter and an angry student of Bethlehem's.
A contemporary classic about the pitfalls and triumphs of the teenage years. In this unique
collection of short stories, the small events of daily life reveal big themes-love and friendship,
youth and growing up, success and failure. Calling on his own experiences of growing up in
California's Central Valley, poet Gary Soto brings to life the joys and pains of young people
everywhere. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams
and desires belong to all of us.
Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor
and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is
used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. This story explores an important and painful
topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the
rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-reallife story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the
future of both. Bullying is another issue explored in this book.
Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always
have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, & servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and
Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican
farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of
acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to
rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life and her own depend on it.
Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is
kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the
same reason. And so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese
community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people
stop them on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the
world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and
the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that
there is always something glittering—kira-kira—in the future.
Jeremiah, who parents are divorced, is confident about who he is -- that is, when he's in his
own Brooklyn neighborhood. But when he starts attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan,
he realizes that black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when, during his
first week of school, he feels an immediate connection with a white girl named Ellie, who’s
parents have abandoned her twice. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they
know they belong together -- despite the fact that she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are
so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world feels
differently.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
HI-B
HI-B
Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles
Title/Author
Summary
Book Thief, The
Markus Zusak
9780375842207
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
2. Rodrick Rules
3. The Last Straw
Jeff Kinney
1. 9780810995529
2. 9780810994737
(Hardcover)
3. 9780810970687
(Hardcover)
Flip Flop Girl
Katherine Paterson
9780140376791
How to Steal a Dog
Barbara O’Conner
9780312561123
Story of Tracy Beaker, The
Jacqueline Wilson
9780440862796
Q
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Beverly Cleary
9780380709588
Set during World War II in Germany is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living
outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she
encounters something she can’t resist –books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster
father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids
as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This
is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It's a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where
undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already
shaving. The hazards of growing up before you're ready are uniquely revealed through words
and drawings as Greg records them in his diary. In book one of this debut series, Greg is
happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star starts to rise,
Greg tries to use his best friend's newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a
chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion. In the second book, Rodrick
Rules, Greg enters the new school year, he’s eager to put the past three months behind him . . .
and one event in particular. Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother, Rodrick, knows all
about the incident Greg wants to keep under wraps. But secrets have a way of getting out . . .
especially when a diary is involved. In the third book, The Last Straw, Greg’s dad actually
thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other
“manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change
him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to
shape up...or get shipped out.
Sometimes only a true friend can help you put your life back together. Vinnie Matthews needs
a real lifesaver — one that will bring her father back to life and let her family go home.
Living with Grandma means having to be responsible for her little brother. Then Vinnie meets
Lupe, the mysterious "flip-flop girl" — who might just be the friend she needs, if only Vinnie
can ignore the rumors about her past. . .
Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other
half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to
get yourself out of it. Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were
evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling
two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking
after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When
Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all
her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is “borrow” the right dog and its
owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected. With
unmistakable sympathy, Barbara O’Connor tells the story of a young girl struggling to see
what’s right when everything else seems wrong.
Ten-year-old Tracy, who lives in a children's home because her mother was forced to give her
up, dreams of getting a good foster family where she can be happy until her mother comes
back for her. Tracy’s doing everything she can to take care of herself—even though she has to
share her birthday cake. Then a journalist shows up to write a story about their orphanage, and
she and Tracy strike up a special friendship.
Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second
grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He's
lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a
mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing
project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes
Leigh's life.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
R
R
R
T
R
HI-B
R
HI-B
(Continued - Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles)
Brian’s Saga Series
1. Hatchet
2. The River
3. Brian’s Winter
4. Brian’s Return
5.Brian’s Hunt
Gary Paulsen
1. 9781416936473
2. 9780440407539
3. 9780440227199
4. 9780440413790
5. 9780440413790
6. 9780553494150
Rules
Cynthia Lord
9780439443838
S
Great Gilly Hopkins, The
Katherine Paterson
978038045963
S
Ida B.
K. Hannigan
9780060730260
S/T
Suitcase Kid
Jacqueline Wilson
9780440867739
T
Crooked River
Shelley Pearsall
9780440421016
Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He stands up to the challenges of
surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization.
This series starts out with Hatchet, the story of a plane crash and how Brian survives, taking
all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
Then, in The River the government wants him to go back into the wilderness so that astronauts
and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive. Brian’s Winter begins
with a new and harrowing ending to Hatchet. In this unique retelling of a young boy's struggle
to survive in the wilderness, Paulsen raises the stakes with the question: what if Brian hadn't
been rescued at the end of summer, but instead had been left to confront his deadliest enemy
— winter? In Brian’s Return, he's back in civilization and can't find a way to make sense of
high school life. He feels disconnected, more isolated than he did alone in the North. The only
answer is to "go back in" — for only in the wilderness can Brian discover his true path in life,
and where he belongs. Brian’s Hunt is the last story in the series. Brian’s keen senses alert
him when he finds a wounded dog. With his new companion at his side, and with a terrible,
growing sense of unease, he sets out to learn what happened.
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have
a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying
to teach David the rules of what is normal. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a
surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her
own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is
normal?
At eleven, Gilly is nobody's real kid. If only she could find her beautiful mother, Courtney,
and live with her instead of in the ugly foster home where she has just been placed! How
could she, the great Gilly Hopkins, known throughout the county for her brilliance and
unmanageability, be expected to tolerate Maime Trotter, the fat, nearly illiterate widow who is
now her guardian? Or for that matter, the freaky seven-year-old boy and the shrunken blind
black man who are also considered part of the bizarre "family"? Even cool Miss Harris, her
teacher, is a shock to her. Gutsy Gilly is both poignant and comic as, behind her best
barracuda smile, she schemes against them and everyone else who tries to be friendly. The
reader will cheer for her as she copes with the longings and terrors of always being a foster
child.
Who is Ida B. Applewood? She is a fourth grader like no other, living a life like no other, with
a voice like no other, and her story will resonate long after you have put this book down. How
does Ida B cope when outside forces—life, really—attempt to derail her and her family and
her future? She enters her Black Period, and it is not pretty. But then, with the help of a
patient teacher, a loyal cat and dog, her beloved apple trees, and parents who believe in the
same things she does (even if they sometimes act as though they don't), the resilience that is
the very essence of Ida B triumph...and Ida B. Applewood takes the hand that is extended and
starts to grow up. This first novel is both very funny and extraordinarily moving, and it
introduces two shining stars—Katherine Hannigan and Ida B. Applewood.
Andrea West’s parents are divorced, and her tiny stuffed rabbit, Radish, seems her only
comfort in the world. She must leave the home she loves and deal with parents who still fight,
stepparents, step-siblings, two different bedrooms (neither of which is really hers), loneliness,
and an acute longing for the past. It seems like her life is falling apart and she's not quite sure
how to fix any of it. Eventually, though, a new equilibrium begins to settle on her life. Honest
and true-to-life, Andy’s story shows that dealing with divorce is never easy.
The year is 1812. A white trapper is murdered. And a young Chippewa Indian, Amik, stands
accused. Can Rebecca overcome her struggles to see justice is served? The unique sharing of
narration between Rebecca and Amik further opens the mind to the injustices and inhumanity
suffered by this country's Native people. The social issues explored in this book are abusive
(parent), prejudice, stereotypes, and cultural diversity.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles)
T
Darby
Jonathon Scott Fugua
978-0744590562
T
Double Dutch
Sharon Draper
9780689842313
T
Hidden Roots
Joseph Bruchac
9780439353595
HI-B
T
Soldier Mom
Alice Mead
9780440229001
T
Steal Away…to freedom
Jennifer Armstrong
978-0590469210
T
Trouble Don’t Last
Shelby Pearsall
9780440418115
T
Tucket’s Home
Gary Paulsen
978-0440415589
U
Journey To Topaz
Yoshiko Uchida
9780916870850
U
Killer’s Tears, The
Anne-Laure Bondoux
9780385733847
Darby Carmichael thinks her best friend is probably the smartest person she knows, even
though, as Mama says, Evette’s school uses worn-out books and crumbly chalk. Whenever
they can, Darby and Evette shoot off into the woods beyond the farm to play fancy ladies and
schoolteachers. One thing Darby has never dreamed of being - not until Evette suggests it - is
a newspaper girl who writes down the truth for all to read. In no time, and with more than a
little assistance from Evette, Darby and her column in the Bennettsville Times are famous in
town and beyond. Darby writes about a motivated murder in an article urging whites to treat
blacks as equals. But is Marlboro County, South Carolina, circa 1926, ready for the truth its
youngest reporter has to tell? This book also explores the social issues of friendship and
prejudice.
Delia loves Double Dutch more than just about anything, and she's really good at it -- so good
she and her teammates have a shot at winning the World Double Dutch Championships. Delia
would die if she couldn't jump -- but Delia has a secret, and it could keep her off the team
next year. Delia's friend Randy has a secret too, one that has him lonely and scared. And
while Delia and Randy struggle to keep their secrets, their school is abuzz with rumors about
what malicious mischief the terrible Tolliver twins -- who just may have a secret of their own
-- are planning. Why can't life be as easy for Delia as Double Dutch?
Although Sonny is uncertain why his sometimes abusive father is so angry and what secret his
mother is keeping from him, eleven-year-old Sonny knows that he is different from his
classmates in their small New York town. A terrible accident costs Sonny's father part of his
right hand, and a friendship with the town librarian, who shares the news that she lost her
German Jewish parents in the Holocaust, reminds everyone to value what will always belong
to them, namely, their identity.
Eleven-year-old Jasmyn gets a different perspective on life when her mother is sent to Saudi
Arabia at the beginning of the Persian Gulf War, leaving her and her baby half brother,
Andrew, behind in Maine in the care of her Mother's boyfriend, Jake. Jake has never been
responsible for Andrew, much less Jas. At first Jas is filled with anger. Then, despite the
sacrifices she must make, including precious basketball practice, Jas comes to understand that
her mother has to do her job. Still, she wonders, should a mother have a job that might require
abandoning her children?
Susannah, a teenage orphan, is reluctantly transplanted from Vermont to Virginia and
Bethlehem, the slave assigned to her, decide to escape together. The two young women, who
alternate as narrators, have very different points of view: to Susannah, teaching her slave to
read is merely a project; in leaving her stern uncle's farm, she runs only the risk of being
brought back. For Bethlehem, both learning to read and running away are deadly dangerous
but the potential rewards are beyond price. Decades later, the two women are reunited in
Bethlehem's slum apartment, where she is on her deathbed. There, they tell their story to
Susannah's naive granddaughter and an angry student of Bethlehem's.
Eleven-year-old Samuel was born as Master Hackler’s slave, and working the Kentucky farm
is the only life he’s ever known—until one dark night in 1859, that is. With no warning,
cranky old Harrison, a fellow slave, pulls Samuel from his bed and, together, they run.
Samuel uncovers the secret of his own past—and future. And old Harrison begins to see past a
whole lifetime of hurt to the promise of a new life—and a poignant reunion—in Canada.
In this story, the fifth and final book in “Tucket’s Adventures,” Francis Tucket, Lottie and
Billy have survived extraordinary, hair-raising adventures in their quest to find Francis's
family, lost when he was kidnapped from a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. Now they meet
up with a British explorer, bloodthirsty soldiers, and in a tragic, heroic encounter, with Jason
Grimes, the mountain man. (There are some religious references made in this book.
Specifically, a group of religious men attempt to help the three children.)
Like any 11-year-old, Yuki Sakane is looking forward to Christmas when her peaceful world
is suddenly shattered by the bombing of Perl Harbor. Uprooted from her home and shipped
with thousands of West Coast Japanese Americans to a desert concentration camp called
Topaz, Yuki and her family face new hardships daily.
On the afternoon when Angel Allegria arrives at the Poloverdos’ farmhouse, he kills the
farmer and his wife. But he spares their child, Paolo–a young boy who will claim this as the
day on which he was born. Together the killer and the boy begin a new life on this remote and
rugged stretch of land in Chile. Then Luis Secunda, a well-to-do and educated fellow from
the city descends upon them and this tests all values. Paolo is caught in the paternal rivalry
between the two men. But life resumes its course . . . until circumstances force the three to
leave the farm. In doing so, Angel and Luis confront their pasts as well as their inevitable
destinies–destinies that profoundly shape Paolo’s own future.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
U
(Continued - Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles)
One-Handed Catch
Mary Jane Auch
9780805079005
HI-B
U
Sign of the Beaver, The
E. George Speare
9780440479000
U
Weedflower
Cynthia Kadohata
9781416975663
V
Becoming Naomi León
Pam Muñoz Ryan
9780439856218
V
Money Hungry
Sharon Flake
978-1423103868
V
Soldier’s Heart
Gary Paulsen
9780440228387
HI-B
W
HI-B
W
HI-B
X
HI-B
Miracle on 49th Street
Mike Lupica
978-0142409428
Nightjohn
(Please Note: Excerpt from this
book used in TCRWP assessment
Set 1.Level W)
Gary Paulsen
978-0440219361
Hoops
Walter Dean Myers
9780440938842
Norm has lost his hand in a meat grinder accident. Now he's faced with the overwhelming
task of putting his life back together as he struggles to relearn all those things that used to be
so easy. Norm's tough-love mother says he’s not going to get any special treatment. There are
so many things to figure out: how to pitch, bat, and catch so he can play his beloved baseball;
how to play an instrument in the school band; how to tie knots for the Boy Scout Jamboree.
Norm's story is sad, funny, and inspiring but never overly sentimental as he stubbornly refuses
to let anything stop him. A home run of a story inspired by the life of the author's husband
who lost his left hand and went on to excel at sports and to become a graphic artist and
illustrator.
Twelve-year-old Matt is left on his own in the Maine wilderness while his father leaves to
bring the rest of the family to their new settlement. When he befriends Attean, an Indian
chief’s grandson, he is invited to join the Beaver tribe and move north. He discovers
friendship and develops an appreciation for another culture. Should Matt abandon his hopes
of ever seeing his family again and go on to a new life?
Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor
and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is
used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. This story explores an important and painful
topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the
rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-reallife story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the
future of both. Bullying is another issue explored in this book.
A riveting novel about family and identity, drawn from Pam Muñoz Ryan’s own Mexican and
Oklahoman heritages. Naomi Soledad León Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young
life. But according to Gram's self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive
thinking. Life with Gram and her little brother, Owen, is happy and peaceful until their
mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and
challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.
All thirteen-year-old Raspberry can think of is making money so that she and her mother
never have to worry about being homeless, living on the streets again. Raspberry eventually
feels like things are looking up. But when their house is robbed and rich people protest
against their living situation, Raspberry finds herself doing everything to hold things together.
But even money can't answer the questions that keep Raspberry awake at night. Will she and
Momma ever move out of the projects? What did Ja'nae do with the two hundred bucks
Raspberry loaned her? And what's really going on with Momma and that rich doctor?
Although he was eager to enlist, 15-year-old Charley Goddard has a change of heart after
experiencing both the physical horrors and mental anguish of Civil War combat. Battle by
battle, Gary Paulsen shows readers the turmoil of war through one boy's eyes and one boy's
heart -- and gives voice to all the anonymous young men who fought in the Civil War.
After her mother dies of cancer and she learns her father is a famous basketball player for the
Boston Celtics, twelve-year-old Molly struggles to find her way in the new relationship.
However, Sam, the sinister agent doesn’t make it easy.
Set in the 1950’s, Sarny, a female slave at the Waller plantation, first sees Nightjohn when he
is brought there with a rope around his neck, his body covered in scars. He had escaped north
to freedom, but he came back--came back to teach reading. Knowing that the penalty for
reading is dismemberment Nightjohn still returned to slavery to teach others how to read. And
twelve-year-old Sarny is willing to take the risk to learn.
All eyes are on seventeen-year-old Lonnie Jackson while he practices with his team for a citywide basketball Tournament of Champions. His coach, Cal, knows Lonnie has what it takes to
be a pro-basketball player, but warns him about giving in to the pressure. Cal knows because
he, too, once had the chance--but sold out. As the Tournament nears, Lonnie learns that some
heavy bettors want Cal to keep him on the bench so that the team will lose the championship.
As the last seconds of the game tick away Lonnie and Cal must make a decision.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Y
(Continued - Finding Our Way in the World as We Overcome Obstacles)
Face on the Milk Carton
Caroline Cooney
9780440220657
No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk
cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in
tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar--a three-year-old who had been
kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey--she felt overcome with
shock. She recognized that little girl--it was she. How could it possibly be true? Janie can't
believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she begins to piece things together,
nothing makes sense. Something is terribly wrong. Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson really Janie's
parents? And if not, who is Janie Johnson, and what really happened?
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Impact: The World Changes Us; We Change the World
Title/Author
Summary
Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The
John Boyne
9780385751537
HI-B
Set in Berlin, 1942 - Bruno returns to his enormous home from school one day, he discovers
that all of his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and
the family must move from their home to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to
play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see
and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an
explorer again like he was back at home and decides that there must be more to this desolate
new place, Auschwitz, than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets
another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting
results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
In this book, Judy sets out to do the important task of saving the environment and its
endangered species, along with winning a design contest for Crazy Strips. Children will
enjoy reading this book because Judy, along with her little brother and best friends, find
themselves in hilarious situations, both important (like saving the forest by stealing
everyone’s pencils) and misguided (like setting her brother’s pet turtle free to save the
animals). However, they all prove that every single person, no matter how old, can make a
difference in our world.
Jeff Greenbaum and Wiley Adamson — the self-appointed nicknamers of Old Orchard Public
School, or OOPS — have been best friends for eleven years. So it stands to reason that they
would both fall for the same red-haired girl. Meanwhile their charismatic football-coachturned-English-teacher, Mr. Huge (Hughes), is in danger of losing his job unless their 6th
grade class, a.k.a. the Dim Bulbs, ace their State Reading Assessment. With Jeff and Wiley at
each other's throats and the class busy reading everything from Dr. Seuss to War and Peace, it
stands to reason that both the nickname tradition, and Jeff and Wiley's friendship are
threatened. Student's will enjoy Korman's affable characters, and identify with their
concerns. This novel may be used to prompt discussions on conflict resolution or working as a
team.
M
Judy Moody Saves the World
Megan McDonald
978-1406302127
S
6th Grade Nickname Game, The
Gordon Korman
9780786851904
S
Broccoli Tapes, The
Jan Slepian
9780590434737
Eleven-year-old Sara and her family are spending five months in Hawaii, but Sara is having
trouble adjusting to what should be paradise. She can't seem to make friends at her new
school, and she misses her teacher and classmates back in Boston. On top of everything, she
feels distanced from her parents, who are busy worrying about her grandmother's health and
seem to be neglecting Sara and her brother Sam. That's why, even though their parents forbid
it, Sara and Sam start taking care of an injured wild cat they name Broccoli. Their constant
attention and patience with the wary creature ultimately wins its trust and affection. Out at
the "rescue rock" where Broccoli lives, the kids meet another outsider: Eddie Nutt, a local kid
whose temper and automatic mistrust make him hard to like at first. But Eddie, it turns out,
has family problems of his own, and gradually he starts to turn to Sara and Sam. The three
become friends, and without always knowing how, help each other through the difficulties to
come: the death of Sara and Sam's grandmother, the seeming rejection of Eddie's father, and
even the death of Broccoli.
S
Eagle Song
Joseph Bruchac
9780141301693
S
Gift Giver, The
Joyce Hansen
9780618611232
4th grader Danny Bigtree is having trouble adjusting to his big-city school — he's homesick
for the Mohawk reservation where his family used to live, and he wishes he could make a
friend. The kids in his class, from a variety of backgrounds themselves, tease him about what
they perceive to be his roots. Danny has learned from experience not to correct them. At
home, the usual stereotypes are turned upside-down. Whenever Danny's dad puts on his
Hollywood Indian voice, Danny knows a joke is coming, and the whole family shares in the
laughter. Danny longs for the warmth of his home life to dispel the loneliness of his Brooklyn
school, and so his father agrees to help, coming to Danny's class to tell the legend of the great
leader, Aionwahta, and his song of peace. While the visit makes a difference, Danny realizes
that the most important step toward finding friendship is still to come. A short glossary and
pronunciation guide at the back of the book helps with the Mohawk words used within the
story, and makes this ideal supplementary reading for units on Native American cultures.
Sometimes Doris feels like a prisoner in her own home. Her parents’ worries about danger on
the city streets keep her from hanging out at the playground, and all her friends on 163rd Street
tease her about it. All except Amir, the new boy on the block. He looks different, acts
different, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Yet everybody likes him. It seems as if
he has a gift for making friends. When Doris’s father loses his job, even she has even less
time to spend outside with her friends. But between Amir’s friendship and her determination
to keep her family together, Doris find she has her own gifts to give.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Impact: The World Changes Us; We Change the World)
S
Mississippi Bridge
Mildred D. Taylor
9780553159929
S
Project Mulberry
Linda Sue Park
9780440421634
S
Sahara Special
Esme Codell
9780786816118
S
Stumptown Kids
Carol Gorman
978-1561454129
S
Yellow Bird and Me
Joyce Hansen
9780618611164
T
Any Small Goodness
Tony Johnston
9780439233842
T
Danger! Boys Dancing
Sarah Weeks
978-0439574716
HI-B
During a heavy rainstorm in 1930s rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus
driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white
passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River. (Prejudice) A terrifying
moment occurs that unites all the townspeople in a nightmare that will change their lives
forever. Growing up is another social issue explored in this book.
Seventh-graders Julia and Patrick are fast friends who do almost everything together. After
joining a new club they are determined to come up with an outstanding project that will
enable them to win at least one blue ribbon at the state fair. Usually they have good ideas and
work well together. But this time they face several hurdles and cannot seem to agree on a
plan. Julia's mother's idea of raising silkworms is enthusiastically accepted by Patrick. Julia
thinks it reflects only her Korean heritage and is not "American" enough. When Mr. Maxwell,
their advisor, approves the concept, Julia reluctantly goes along even though she secretly
keeps putting obstacles in the way of success. Soon Julia gets totally caught up in the project.
Along the way she and Patrick learn a great deal about silkworms, friendship, patience and
tolerance. A unique addition to the novel is conversation between the author and Julia.
Prejudice is another social issue that is explored in this book.
Sahara Jones is going into fifth grade-again. Although she won't be "Sahara Special" anymore
(special needs, that is), she doesn't expect this year to be any better than last year. Fifth grade
is going to be different, though, because Sahara's class is getting a new teacher: Miss Pointy.
From her eggplant-colored lipstick to the strange subjects she teaches, like "Puzzling" and
"Time Travel," she is like no other teacher Sahara has ever known. With Miss Pointy's help,
Sahara just might find a way to redefine special for herself. The latest chapter in her book
unfolds when her mother insists that she be taken out of special Ed. So Sahara is facing fifth
grade in the regular classroom, again. But why even try to do the work, Sahara wonders, if
everything just winds up in the counselor's file? Through Miss Pointy's unusual teaching,
storytelling, and quiet support, Sahara finds the courage to overcome her fears and prove
which file shows her true self. a Another social issue explored in this book is stereotypes.
The story of Charlie Nebraska encourages the reader by exemplifying the characteristics of a
true friendship. This work of historical fiction reveals some of the most horrific sides of an
African American facing racism in the 1950s. The book's main theme is overcoming
opposition through friendship, and a strong one it is. Charlie, a twelve-year-old white boy and
Luther, a twenty-five year-old African American male, develop an incredible relationship
through the game of baseball, despite the negative views of a prejudiced town. Luther's past
sets the plot in motion. In his Negro League days, Luther was a pitcher and killed a white man
who was crowding the plate. Although Luther is innocent, the victim's brother has vowed
revenge. Because of this, Luther must flee to Stumptown, where he becomes Charlie's
baseball coach. When Luther's past resurfaces, a series of frightening events take place that
helps Luther win the town over and clear his name.
In this sentimental sequel to The Gift-Giver, Doris begins her narration only a few weeks after
her friend Amir has left the Bronx for his new home in Syracuse. Doris is moody and
depressed, missing Amir so much that all she can think about is earning enough money to go
visit him. Nothing is working out for her, though, as her friends tease her, her new teacher
Mrs. Barker is mean, her parents won't let her keep her job at the beauty parlor, and crazy
Yellow Bird keeps pestering her to help him with his reading problem. When Amir writes
back, he tells Doris not to come yet and to take care of Bird. Reluctantly, Doris discovers that
despite his problem, Bird is smart and a good friend. Bird's difficulties are too big for Doris to
handle by herself, and with the help of the new drama club teacher, Bird gets the lead in the
play. There are surprises for both Bird and Doris at the end of the story, and a final letter to
Amir shows that Doris has learned how to become her own ``Amir.''
A Hispanic family lives in L.A. Not the L.A. where there are fast cars, people who are too
rich and too poor – this L.A. is a place where random acts of generosity and goodwill improve
the lives of the community. Any Small Goodness is a novel filled with hope, love, and
warmth. Stereotyping and family are two other issues explored in this book.
Nat Boyd and his best friend Boyd Fink have always found a way to maneuver their way out
of trouble. But this time, the problem is serious. It's something horrible and frightening
beyond any fifth grader's worse fears. This time, it's...dancing. There's no escaping this
humiliating class assignment...and what's worse, there's a rumor that the boys will be forced to
wear tutus! What's a Boyd to do?
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
T
HI-B
T
HI-B
T
(Continued - Impact: The World Changes Us; We Change the World)
Fink’s Funk
Sarah Weeks
978-0439574723
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
Jack Gantos
9780064408332
Larger-Than-Life-Lara
Dandi Daley Mackall
978-0525477266
(Hardcover)
Nat Boyd and Boyd Fink love making up crazy games to play. In their latest, Faboo Facts, the
two Boyds go head-to-head, battling to out-faboo each other with the more impressive fact.
But this crash of craniums is destined for disaster. It's not long before the competition has
gone too far, and Fink starts to change. He's not the same Fink any more...now he's Fink in a
funk! Nat had better find a way to break Fink's funk. If he doesn't, he'll lose more than just the
game. He'll lose his best friend!
To the constant disappointment of his mother and his teachers, hyperactive Joey has trouble
paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription meds wear off and he
starts feeling wired. One mishap after another leads Joey first from his regular classroom to
special education classes and then to a special education school. Finally, with medication,
counseling, and positive reinforcement, Joey triumphs, in this comic, compassionate, and
compelling tale.
Ten-year-old Laney Grafton recounts recent events surrounding Lara, a new girl in her class,
who is morbidly obese. Through her narrative, Laney documents the miserable and numerous
offenses that are perpetrated on Lara, and reveals her own experiences as the class scapegoat
and outcast. Finally, the students' publicly mortify Lara, with an act so mean-spirited that the
adults finally get involved (their absence and lack of leadership and guidance is a huge gap
throughout this novel). The outcome is that Lara, rather than the perpetrators, has to leave the
school. And, to the students' astonishment, Lara and her parents leave without saying
goodbye. Realizing the serious effect their actions have had on Lara, and what it has revealed
about their own lack of understanding and empathy, the children line the school driveway,
holding signs of apology and well wishes as the car passes. This final scene fails to redeem
the students' relentless intolerance of Lara up to that point, however. Bullying and prejudices
are two other social issues explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Forgiveness: Finding Good in People and Places
Title/Author
Summary
Allison
A. Say
9780618495375
Black Angels
R. Murphy
978-0440229346
Silver Balloon, The
Susan Bonners
9780374466473
L
M
Enemy Pie
(Picture Book)
Derek Munson
9780811827782
(Hard Cover)
Pictures for Miss Josie
(Picture Book)
S. Belton
9780688174804
(Hardcover)
N
Freedom on the Menu
Carole B. Weatherford
9780142408940
N
Hard Times Jar, The
Ethel Footman Smothers
9780374328528
(Hardcover)
N
Your Move
Eve Bunting
9780152001810
(Hardcover)
When Allison, who feels isolated, realizes that she looks more like her favorite doll than like
her parents, she comes to terms with this unwelcomed discovery through the help of a stray
cat.
During the summer of 1961, 11-year-old Celline discovers the existence of angels. "I believe
in angels because I've seen them... three naked black girls with creamy white wings, throwing
stones on my hopscotch board.... The angels come every day now since the trouble started."
The "trouble" is that Celli's beloved housekeeper, Sophie, is stirring up the black community
of Mystic, Georgia, with talk of the civil rights movement. Celli is frightened for Sophie, and
knows the folks on her side of town--"the white side"--won't tolerate her activism much
longer. But when Celli begins to see the small black angels around her home, she feels
strangely comforted: "They never speak to me, but somehow their presence fills me with
hope." Then a stranger with a secret about Celli's past comes to town the same week as the
Freedom Riders, and Celli discovers her fate is tied to Sophie's in a way she never dreamed
possible. Now Celli must find the courage, in a dangerous time and place, to stand up for what
she knows is right.
One September evening, Gregory ties an index card with his name and address on it to the
string of a silver helium balloon and lets it go from his window, into the city sky. Three weeks
later, an envelope arrives in the mail. A farmer named Pete has found his balloon! Gregory
writes back, and the two become pen pals, exchanging mystery gifts with each letter. Finally,
Pete sends a gift that Gregory can identify only by a trip to the natural history museum, and
the object turns out to be something truly amazing.
It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street
and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of
enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the
enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning
your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie
serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
Written to celebrate the life of Josephine Carroll Smith, a respected African-American
educator, this fictionalized picture book tells the story of one of the many young black men to
whom she opened her home and heart. The third-person narrative describes the experiences of
a boy who travels to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with the woman who had
welcomed his father into her home when he was a student. The child isn't sure that he wants
to stay for the planned overnight visit; to him, she seems like a giant, tall, stern, and
foreboding, but Miss Josie encourages his love of drawing, and the time passes quickly. As he
grows up, attends college, marries, starts a family, and embarks on an artistic career, she is
always there to play a supportive and nurturing role in his life. When it is time for his own son
to meet Miss Josie, she is not so tall, but "in the ways that mattered, still the same."
There were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she could and could
not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand for equal rights at a Woolworth's
lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This
event sparks a movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young to
march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs for the cause. Changes are
coming to Connie's town, but Connie just wants to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana
split like everyone else.
A look at the life of migrant workers through a child's eyes Emma Turner loves books and
dreams of one day having the store-bought kind, but the Turners are migrant workers and
money is tight. That means "no extras," so Emma must be content to make her own stories
and books. Emma has a plan, though - she's going to save all the money she earns picking
apples and put it in Mama's hard-times jar. Then there will surely be enough for extras. But
when Mama tells Emma that this year she has to go to school instead of to work, it spoils
everything. Now she will never own a store-bought book! But school turns out to have a
wonderful surprise in store for Emma.
One night while their mom’s at work, ten-year-old James and his six-year-old brother, Isaac,
leave their house to meet the K-Bones, a group of guys who hang out and do cool stuff. James
is ready to prove he’s cool enough to be in with them, but he soon learns that the K-Bones are
not just an innocent club--they’re a gang that steals, tags freeway signs, and even plans to buy
a gun. After a dangerous confrontation with a crew of older boys, James realizes that he’s put
Isaac in danger, and knows that if he finds the courage to walk away, Isaac will follow.
Growing-up is another social issue explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Forgiveness: Finding Good in People and Places)
O
Doggy Dare
Ben Baglio
9780439051699
O
Fame and Glory in Freedom,
Georgia
B. O’Connor
9780374400187
P
Felita
Nicholasa Mohr
9780141306438
P
Hundred Dresses, The
Eleanor Estes
9780152052607
Q
J.T.
Jane Wagner
9780440442752
R
Circle of Gold
Candy Dawson Boyd
978-0590407540
R
Stranded in Boringsville
Catherine Bateson
9780823421138
S
Janitor’s Boy
Andrew Clements
9780689835858
S
My Name is Sally Little Song
Brenda Woods
978-0142409435
Joey, a new boy in class, is deaf. He wants a dog more than anything, but his mother won't
allow it. When a stray dog keeps following Joey around, Mandy thinks the dog can be taught
to help him. But can the stray be trained? Do Mandy and James dare to try? Prejudice and
isolation are two social issues explored in this book.
Will a spelling bee be the answer to all of Bird's problems? All her life, all Bird has ever
wanted is to be noticed in her small town and to get to Disney World. As it turns out, Bird just
might have a chance to realize at least one of her goals because of a state spelling bee, and she
might get to make a friend along the way - a boy named Harlem Tate who has just moved to
Freedom. Harlem seems like a kindred spirit - someone like Bird, whom people don't usually
take the time to find the good in. (Unless it's someone like Miss Delphine, who always makes
Bird feel special.) But as much as Bird tries to get his attention, Harlem is not easily won
over. Then Harlem agrees to be her partner in the spelling bee, and if they study hard enough,
the two might just win everything Bird's always wanted. Stereotypes and isolation are two
social issues explored in this book.
In this vivid portrayal of a close-knit Hispanic community, Felita's parents promise she will
love their new neighborhood. Only Abuelita, her grandmother, understands how much Felita
will miss her old block, and her best friend Gigi. Nine-year-old Felita and her family
encounter racial discrimination and mild violence when they move because they are from
Puerto Rico. First published twenty years ago, Felita's compelling story has resonance for kids
today. Isolation is a social issue explored in this book.
A story about prejudice and understanding where a young girl comes to terms with the effects
that the teasing of her friends has had on a shy classmate. Though Maddie feels increasingly
uncomfortable with the way the other girls — led by her best friend, Peggy — joke with
Wanda, she doesn't have the courage to do anything about it. Then one day Wanda stops
coming to school. Maddie can't shake a bad feeling about Wanda's absence, but she pushes it
aside, preferring instead to think about the drawing contest, which she is sure Peggy will win.
Will Maddie side with the bully or will she make another choice as she learns more about who
she really is?
To the guys on the block, J.T. is the kid who stole the radio out of the red convertible before
they could get to it. His neighbor, Mrs. Morris, declares him a first-class nuisance. His mother
is bewildered — "He's just gone bad, that's all.... Stealin' and lyin' and I don't know what all."
But all the sensitivity, responsibility, and care of which ten-year-old J.T. Gamble is capable
emerges when he finds an old, one-eyed, badly hurt alley cat. J.T. takes on a new dimension
as he lavishes all the love he is unable to express to people around him on the battered cat he
has found in the junk-filled empty lot.
When Mattie’s father was alive, everything seemed perfect. But her world changed when he
died. Her mother is always angry and never smiles. Her twin brother seems quiet and
withdrawn. And Mattie doesn’t know what to do. She does know that Mother’s Day is
coming, and she desperately wants to buy her mom the perfect gift: a beautiful golden pin.
But Mattie doesn’t have the money for the pin, and her mother doesn’t even want to celebrate.
That’s when Mattie decides to take matters into her own hands. That’s when she decides that
she’ll do what it takes to bring her family together again.
After her parents got divorced, twelve-year-old Rain, who has to have surgery to fix a heart
problem, moves with her mother to the country, where she befriends the unpopular boy who
lives next door and also seeks a way to cope with her feelings toward her father and his new
girlfriend.
When Jack Rankin learns that he is going to spend the fifth grade in the old high school -- the
building where his father works as a janitor -- he dreads the start of school. Jack manages to
get through the first month without the kids catching on. Then comes the disastrous day when
one of his classmates loses his lunch all over the floor. John the janitor is called in to clean up,
and he does the unthinkable -- he turns to Jack with a big smile and says, "Hi, son."
Jack performs an act of revenge and gets himself into a sticky situation. His punishment is to
assist the janitor after school for three weeks. The work is tedious, not to mention humiliating.
But there is one perk; janitors have access to keys, keys to secret places....
Sally Harrison and her family are slaves on a plantation in Georgia. But when Master decides
to sell Sally and her brother, the family escapes to seek shelter with a tribe of Seminoles who
are rumored to adopt runaway slaves. After a perilous journey, Sally's family finds and joins
the tribe. But while her father and brother easily adjust to Indian ways, Sally can't seem to
find her place. Combining the poetry of Sally's songs with the heart-racing tension of the
family's escape, author Brenda Woods delivers a breathtaking story of a girl caught between
worlds.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Forgiveness: Finding Good in People and Places)
S
Permanent Rose
Hilary McKay
978-1416928041
S
Shaper
Jessie Haas
9780060001704
(Hardcover)
T
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
9780142403709
T
Any Small Goodness
Tony Johnston
9780439233842
T
Cousins
Virginia Hamilton
9780590454360
T
What Would Joey Do?
Jack Gantos
9780060544034
U
Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis
9780440413288
Autumn Street
Lois Lowry
9780440403449
Birthday Room, The
Kevin Henkes
9780688167332
Chasing Redbird
Sharon Creech
9780064406963
V
V
V
V
V
Locomotion
(Novel in Poetry Form)
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142401491
Where I’d Like to Be
Frances O’Roark Dowell
9780689870675
Feisty Rose takes center stage as the highly original Casson family faces a long, hot summer.
As usual, things are a bit chaotic. Eldest daughter Caddy is engaged to darling Michael, and
she's not altogether sure she likes it. Saffy and Sarah are on a mission to find Saffy's
biological father (while cultivating hearts of stone). Indigo is cautiously beginning a
friendship with a reformed bully, who desperately wants to feel like part of the Casson family.
Rose, while dreadfully missing Tom (whom none of them have heard from), enters into a life
of petty crime, shoplifting small items until her misadventures nearly bring disaster. Through
it all, Rose's single-minded determination to find Tom remains as fierce as it is hopeless. Or is
it?
Chad blames his grandfather Jeep and his older sister, Julia, for the loss/death of his dog last
fall. Now, as an empty summer yawns before him, Chad still isn't speaking to jeep, he avoids
Julia, and he does his best to ignore the rest of the family, especially the new dog, Queenie.
But on this quiet Vermont hillside there's no one but family, nothing to fill the long days
ahead. Then a new neighbor, David Burton, moves in down the hill. David is a shaper, a dog
trainer who shapes animals' behavior using positive reinforcement. He needs an assistant, and
he offers Chad the job. David also has a daughter, Louise beautiful, feisty, a dancer-who's
only a year older than Chad. Suddenly Chad's life, which had seemed simple if painful, is
terribly, wonderfully, confusingly complicated....
Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard
and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school. But Natalie has autism, and when she's
denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous
coping mechanisms Moose's family has used for dealing with her disorder.
A Hispanic family lives in L.A. Not the L.A. where there are fast cars, people who are too
rich and too poor – this L.A. is a place where random acts of generosity and goodwill improve
the lives of the community. Any Small Goodness is a novel filled with hope, love, and
warmth. Stereotyping and family are two other issues explored in this book.
Being cousins doesn't mean you'll be friends.... Cammy loves her family -- except for her
cousin Patty Ann. Though she knows she shouldn't feel this way, she can't help it. Patty Ann
is too perfect to like, too perfect to be a friend. Then one day something terrible happens,
something that can't be changed. That's when Cammy learns the truth about Patty Ann, and
about family love -- and forgiveness.
Hard to believe that Joey is the almost-normal one in this third and last installment in the
chronicles of Joey Pigza. It's not just a funny story with nutty, divorced parents out of
control, it's a poignant story of family, loss, lessons learned, and one boy's learning to make
his way in the world with confidence and good cheer.
Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression,
escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the
renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
When her father goes to fight in World War II, Elizabeth goes with her mother and sister to
her grandfather's house where she learns to face up to the always puzzling and often cruel
realities of the adult world.
When twelve-year-old Ben visits his uncle in Oregon, he feels caught in the strained
relationship between his mother and her brother while he also begins to accept himself as an
artist.
Right from the start, Zinny knew that uncovering the trail would be more than just a summer
project. It was her chance to finally make people notice her, and to have a place she could call
her very own. But more than that, Zinny knew that the trail somehow held the key to all kinds
of questions. And that -- the only way to understand her family, her Aunt Jessie's death, and
herself, was to find out where it went. Isolation is another issue explored in this book.
In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his
parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic
voice at school.
Twelve year old Maddie is a foster child who can't stop looking for a home. When Maddie
shows a new girl her beloved scrapbook, she doesn't anticipate this one gesture will challenge
her very idea of what home, and family, are all about.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
W
W
X
X
X
(Continued - Forgiveness: Finding Good in People and Places)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Mildred D. Taylor
9780140384512
Yankee Girl
M.A. Rodman
978-0312535766
Dicey’s Song
Cynthia Voigt
9780689863622
Feathers
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142411988
Out of the Dust
Karen Hesse
9780590371254
The story of one African American family fighting to stay together and strong in the face of
brutal racist attacks, illness, poverty, and betrayal in the Deep South of the 1930s.
When her FBI-agent father is transferred to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1964, eleven-year-old
Alice wants to be popular but also wants to reach out to the one black girl in her class in a
newly-integrated school. It takes a horrible tragedy for her to realize the complete
ramifications of following the crowd instead of her heart. This story also explores the issue of
isolation.
Letting Go The four Tillerman children finally have a home at their grandmother's rundown
farm on the Maryland shore. It's what Dicey has dreamed of for her three younger siblings,
but after watching over the others for so long, it's hard to let go.
Nobody knows what to make of the new boy in Frannie's class. Not only does he look
different, but he's kind to everyone, he refuses to fight, and he doesn't even seem to mind
when the other kids nickname him Jesus Boy. But as winter progresses, Frannie realizes that
she's starting to see a whole lot of things in a new light: her brother's deafness, her mother's
fear, her friend Samantha's faith, their classmate Trevor's anger, and her own desire for hope"the thing with feathers." And it's all because of Jesus Boy's differences . . . and his
friendship. Bullying is another issue explored in this book.
A poem cycle that reads as a novel, Out of the Dust tells the story of a girl named Billie Jo,
who struggles to help her family survive the dust-bowl years of the Depression. Fighting
against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities
when her mother dies in a tragic accident. A testament to the American spirit, this novel is an
instant classic. Homelessness is another social issue explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Insights: Finding Resolutions to Problems through the Arts
Summary
Title/Author
Color of My Words, The
Lynn Joseph
9780064472043
My Brother Bernadette
Jacqueline Wilson
978-0778709862
M
Pictures for Miss Josie
(Picture Book)
S. Belton
9780688174804
(Hardcover)
N
Chalk Box Kid
Clyde Robert Bulla
9780394891026
O
Marisol
Gary Soto
9781584859727
O
Mouse Called Wolf, A
Dick King-Smith
9780375800665
S
Journey
Patricia MacLachlan
978-0440408093
Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a
country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching
her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to
be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her
own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform
the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.
There are several issues intertwined in this chapter book—how to deal with bullies and
teasing, stereotypes, and how to be true to yourself and your own strengths and desires.
Bernard is not thrilled with the idea of going to summer camp. His sister is and she assures
him that she will look out for him and help him have fun. Early on, Bernard tangles with the
bully Big Dan and earns the hated nickname Burnadette. Eventually he finds a safe haven in
the clothing design class. It seems that Bernard's grandmother has taught him some basics
about sewing, and he has a flair for design. Pretty soon he creates a jacket, draws an admiring
crowd and lets these kids know that his name is Bernard. The best part is Bernard's revenge
on Big Dan when he designs the costumes for the end-of-camp play. It is sweet and kids will
be happy to see that brains and skillful fingers can overcome the bully's brawn.
Written to celebrate the life of Josephine Carroll Smith, a respected African-American
educator, this fictionalized picture book tells the story of one of the many young black men to
whom she opened her home and heart. The third-person narrative describes the experiences of
a boy who travels to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with the woman who had
welcomed his father into her home when he was a student. The child isn't sure that he wants
to stay for the planned overnight visit; to him, she seems like a giant, tall, stern, and
foreboding, but Miss Josie encourages his love of drawing, and the time passes quickly. As he
grows up, attends college, marries, starts a family, and embarks on an artistic career, she is
always there to play a supportive and nurturing role in his life. When it is time for his own son
to meet Miss Josie, she is not so tall, but "in the ways that mattered, still the same."
When nine-year-old Gregory experiences several upsets in his life, he responds by creating a
fantastic chalk garden on the charred walls of a burned-out factory behind his house. As his
garden grows and flourishes, Gregory finds a voice through his art and, for the first time, is
able to find his own place in the world. Isolation is a social issue explored in this book.
Marisol Luna is a ten-year-old girl who loves to dance. Ballet folklórico (Mexican folkdance)
is her favorite type of dance, but she also does jazz, ballet, and a little tap! She is very
disappointed when her parents decide to move to the Chicago suburbs—away from their
close-knit neighborhood and Marisol's school and dance classes. But Marisol realizes that no
matter where she is, it is her passion to dance that will help her persevere in the midst of
change. Marisol's story will appeal to all readers—especially those who love dance.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse ("Wolf," for short) has a big name for such a little mouse. But the
name fits. His favorite pastime is listening to Mrs. Honeybee, the lady of the house, play the
piano. If only he could sing along to the music! One day, Wolf decides to try -- and to his
surprise, out of his mouth comes a perfect melody. It's not long before Wolf is singing
everything from "Three Blind Mice" to Chopin to the Beatles, all to Mrs. Honeybee's
accompaniment. Then an accident leaves Mrs. Honeybee in danger, and it's up to Wolf to save
her... the only way he knows how.
When his mother walks out on 11-year-old Journey and his older sister, Cat, the boy refuses
to believe she will not return. He listens to the constant clicking of the shutter as his
grandfather takes possession of Cat's cast-aside camera, asserting that "sometimes pictures
show us what is really there." Journey questions the value of this incessant picture-taking, yet
pores through his grandmother's photo album, trying to patch together a fragmented past that
is frustratingly out of focus. He hopes that the truth will be found in a box of family photos
that his mother left in tiny scraps under her bed. Setting out to piece the pictures back
together, Journey finally admits that this dream is as hopeless as his mother's return. It is his
grandfather, on whom Journey has taken out much of his anger, who eventually answers the
child's most troubling questions. The wise older man assures Journey that he is not to blame
for his mama's departure, and shares a truth that is at the heart of the novel: although
everything in life--from photographs to families--is not perfect, "things can be good enough."
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Insights: Finding Resolutions to Problems through the Arts)
U
Drawing Lessons
Tracy Mack
9780439112031
U
Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt,
The
Patricia MacLachlan
9780064402651
U
Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, The
E.L. Konigsburg
9780689866371
V
Birthday Room, The
Kevin Henkes
9780688167332
Blue Willow
Doris Gates
9780140309249
V
V
V
V
Locomotion
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142401491
Pictures of Hollis Woods
Patricia Reilly Giff
9780440415787
Search for Belle Prater
Ruth White
9780440421641
Twelve-year-old Aurora is an artist like her father. Through a hundred drawing lessons he
guided her hand, trained her eye, taught her how to mix colors and achieve perspective.
Together they plan to paint a beautiful mural for Rory's mother... maybe showing a sunset, to
make up for the ones Mom misses because she's at her job, supporting the family. But when
Rory goes to show her father a sketch for the mural she finds him embracing his model.
Outraged, she tries to hurt him by burning up her sketchbook, Soon after, he leaves, and Rory
knows her anger drove him away.
Minna wishes for many things. She wishes she understood the quote taped above her mother's
typewriter: Fact and fiction are different truths. She wishes her mother would stop writing
long enough to really listen to her. She wishes her house were peaceful and orderly like her
friend Lucas's. Most of all, she wishes she could find a vibrato on her cello and play Mozart
the way he deserves to be played. Minna soon discovers that some things can't be found-they
just have to happen. And as she waits for her vibrato to happen, Minna begins to understand
some facts and fictions about herself.
For the last forty-five years, the Uncles have been building three giant towers in their
backyard from scrap metal and shards of glass and porcelain. But now, bowing to pressures
from some powerful home owners, the towers have been declared blight on the neighborhood.
Even worse, the city council has voted to have them destroyed. Margaret Rose is outraged.
She knows the towers for what they truly are: irreplaceable works of art. To Margaret, the
towers sing. They sing of the joy of making something big and beautiful out of bits and
pieces; of integrity; but perhaps most important of all, they sing of history. And Margaret
Rose is determined to make sure they always will.
When twelve-year-old Ben visits his uncle in Oregon, he feels caught in the strained
relationship between his mother and her brother while he also begins to accept himself as an
artist.
This story chronicles the harsh life experienced by migrant workers in California's Central
Valley. Janey Larkin, the young daughter of migrant workers, wishes only for a home, friends
and the opportunity to go to school. As the family moves from place to place to earn a less
than meager living, Janey and her family experience hardships that are common to itinerant
farm laborers. Her most prized possession is a beautiful, blue-and-white Chinese Pagoda
plate, with a blue willow design, given to her by her great-grandmother, and Janey's dream is
to live in a house beside a willow tree, just like the one on her cherished plate. When her
mother becomes ill, Janey contemplates making an incredibly big sacrifice for the welfare of
her family. And to further complicate matters, Janey discovers the dishonest foreman is
pocketing the family's hard-earned rent money.
In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his
parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic
voice at school.
Hollis Woods has been in so many foster homes she can hardly remember them all. She even
runs away from the Regans, the one family who offers her a home. When Hollis is sent to
Josie, an elderly artist who is quirky and affectionate, she wants to stay. But Josie is growing
more forgetful every day. If Social Services finds out, they’ll take Hollis away and move Josie
into a home. Well, Hollis Woods won’t let anyone separate them. She’s escaped the system
before; this time, she plans to take Josie with her. Yet behind all her plans, Hollis longs for
her life with the Regans, fixing each moment of her time with them in pictures she’ll never
forget.
Belle Prater is missing. Since she inexplicably disappeared about a year ago, her son,
Woodrow, has been living with his grandparents, next door to his cousin Gypsy. The two are
best friends, joined by their adventurous sprits and shared love of stories and magic. One
night they receive a puzzling phone call, which provides a clue that sends Gypsy and
Woodrow on a mission to find Belle. Joining them is Cassie Caulborne, the new girl in
school, who, like Woodrow and Gypsy, has experienced the loss of a parent. She is also
endowed with a valuable gift--she knows things, things that happened in the past and reveal
themselves to her in dreams. Their quest leads them out of their sheltered life in Coal Station,
Virginia, and eventually back to Woodrow's home in Crooked Ridge. On the road they meet
new people with their own stories to tell.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Insights: Finding Resolutions to Problems through the Arts)
V
Yolanda’s Genius
(Please Note: Excerpt from this
book used in TCRWP assessment
Set 1.Level V)
Carol Fenner
9780689813276
W
Indigo Star
Hilary McKay
978-1416914037
W
Nightjohn
(Please Note: Excerpt from this
book used in TCRWP assessment
Set 1.Level W)
Gary Paulsen
978-0440219361
Monument, The
Gary Paulsen
9780440407829
HI-B
Y
HI-B
Yolanda finds it easy to watch out for her little, first-grade brother, Andrew. But their mother,
a legal professional and a widow, is concerned about crime and drugs in her children's
Chicago school. She moves them all to a smaller and, she hopes, smaller town. Yolanda, at
first, is scornful of her new town. And Andrew, who never talks much, is having trouble
learning to read. What he loves to do is play on the old harmonica given to him as a baby by
his father to teethe on and which he's kept blowing ever since. He can imitate any sound he
hears, like bacon sizzling, or express any mood he feels, like the freshness of an early
morning. Yolanda understands that that's the way he "talks." She is convinced Andrew is a
true genius with a great musical gift. But no one else believes it—not her mother, nor
Andrew's teachers, not even wonderful Aunt Tiny in Chicago. Yolanda sets out to open up
adult eyes, a task whose strategies will call on far more than her physical toughness.
It's back to school for the start of a new term. Indigo's returning after a bout of glandular fever
and is dreading it. Rose is worrying about Indigo--and her new glasses. Saffy is busy dictating
Rose's homework answers, while Caddy agonizes over ways to dump her current boyfriend.
And their mother, Eve, is busy trying to dry her latest painting with a hairdryer. Some things
never change. But this term Tom has joined Indigo's class. And that will make all the
difference . . .
Set in the 1950’s, Sarny, a female slave at the Waller plantation, first sees Nightjohn when he
is brought there with a rope around his neck, his body covered in scars. He had escaped north
to freedom, but he came back--came back to teach reading. Knowing that the penalty for
reading is dismemberment Nightjohn still returned to slavery to teach others how to read. And
twelve-year-old Sarny is willing to take the risk to learn
It all begins when Rocky follows Mick Strum around town while he sketches its people,
animals and graveyard. Mick has been commissioned by Rocky's Kansas town to create a
memorial to their war dead. As Rocky learns to respect Mick and his talents, he helps her to
develop her own artistic sensibilities. But the townspeople see things in Mick's drawings that
they don't want to know or accept about themselves. Can Mick help them accept one
monument that will be meaningful to everyone?
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Title/Author
Color of My Words, The
Lynn Joseph
9780064472043
Girls Rule!
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
9780440419891
Stranger in the Mirror
Allen Say
9780395938836
K
K
K
L
Tight Times
(Picture Book)
Barbara Hazen
9780140504422
Tight Times
(Picture Book)
Barbara Hazen
9780140504422
Tight Times
(Picture Book)
Barbara Hazen
9780140504422
Song Lee in Room 2B
Suzy Kline
9780141304083
M
Blue Ribbon Blues
Jerry Spinelli
978-0679887539
M
Lost Lake, The
(Picture Book)
Allen Say
978-0395630365
Overcoming Obstacles in Life
Summary
Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a
country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching
her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to
be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her
own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform
the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.
Summer is around the corner, and the rivalry between the Malloys and the Hatfords is heating
up! The kids have two weeks to earn money for a fundraising contest sponsored by the local
hospital. Those who collect $20 or more for the new children’s wing can choose to be in the
annual Strawberry Festival Parade or get all the strawberry treats they can eat. There’s only
one place Caroline Malloy—wants to be: smack dab in the middle of the glamorous
Strawberry Queen’s float. But how will she earn the money in such a short time? Do the
Hatford brothers have moneymaking secrets that they’re not telling the girls? Isolation is
another social issue explored in this book.
One morning eight-year-old Martin looks in the mirror and sees a stranger. Overnight, he has
changed. His parents take him to one doctor after another, only to be told that there is nothing
wrong with their son. At school his teacher asks, "What have we here, trick or treat?" His
classmates will not play with him. At home his family tries to treat him as if he were the same
child. But things now are different. Martin has grown very old in the space of one day. His
world will never be the same again. Prejudice and loss are two social issues explored in this
book.
A small boy, not allowed to have a dog because times are tight, finds a starving kitten in a
trash can on the same day his father loses his job.
A small boy, not allowed to have a dog because times are tight, finds a starving kitten in a
trash can on the same day his father loses his job.
A small boy, not allowed to have a dog because times are tight, finds a starving kitten in a
trash can on the same day his father loses his job.
Although Song Lee is very shy in some ways (she is terrified of speaking in front of the
class), she brings a lot of her own flair to her second-grade classroom. For instance, when it's
her turn to talk about a place she's traveled, she dresses as a cherry blossom tree — cleverly
hiding her fear from the audience and bringing in a great image of her homeland, Korea.
That's not all — when she realizes the class has no more living pets, Song Lee brings in her
own salamander to share with her classmates. Later, when there's a fire drill, Song Lee makes
sure to rescue her pet before leaving the building.
Although it is difficult, Tooter is trying to learn how to live her new life on a farm. To prove
that she can be a good farmer, she decides to enter her goat in a contest, but everything gets
messed up when her brother gets loose with a bucket of blue paint! Older children will like
this book because it shows that hard works helps Tooter overcome all of the obstacles she
faces to become not only a winner, but a hero on the farm.
A boy spends a lonely summer with his father, who is so engrossed in work he scarcely
notices or talks to his son. Early one Saturday Dad wakes the boy with a surprise: they are
going camping, in search of a special lake Dad had visited as a boy. When the Lost Lake is
rediscovered, it is overrun with families camping and swimming; Dad is determined they will
find another. Through a bleak rainstorm and dangerous bear country father and son press on,
and the boy is happy to see Dad gradually become more animated and talkative. The father's
dogged perseverance finally pays off: a brand-new special lake, all to themselves, to enjoy
and remember.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
M
Paint Brush Kid
Clyde Robert Bulla
9780679892823
N
Safe at Home
Sharon Robinson
978-0439671989
N
Striped Ice Cream
Joan Lexau
978-0590457293
O
Anastasia Krupnik
Lois Lowry
9780440408529
O
Gloria’s Way
Ann Cameron
9780142300237
O
Grandmama’s Pride
Becky Birtha
9780807530283
O
Mailing May
(Picture Book)
Michael Tunnell
9780064437240
Mister and Me
Kimberly W. Holt
9780613337137
O
P
El Chino
(Picture Book)
Allen Say
978-0395778753
(Continued - Overcoming Obstacles in Life)
Uncle Pancho, a Mexican-American, is about to lose his house! Gregory and his friends love
Uncle Pancho. He isn’t really anyone’s uncle—he’s their friend. When he begins to tell the
story of his life, Gregory has an idea. He will paint the story of Uncle Pancho’s Life . . . and
maybe, just maybe, the painting will help save Uncle Pancho’s house. There is a charming
message of the power to make dreams come true through the arts in this heart-warming story.
Ten-year-old Elijah Breeze, aka Jumper, is having the hardest summer of his life. He’s
suffering from the loss of his father; his mother has moved them from the suburbs to New
York City's Harlem area; and he has to spend the summer at baseball camp. Basketball is
Jumper's game. He doesn't know anything about baseball, or city life, or how to keep going
without his dad. Jumper struggles in his new life, but he's encouraged by the support of his
coach and by his grandma's wisdom. He finds out it is possible to start over in a new place
with new people . . . and still hold on to what's important from his past.
Becky is feeling miserable. It’s almost her birthday, but this year no one seems to care.
Becky knows her family is too poor to buy presents. But why do they keep whispering
behind her back and leaving her out? Life was lonely for the youngest in the family when
everyone else started working on a project without her. Brother Abe even tried to keep her out
of her own home during the day — and playing baseball with Abe did not appeal to Becky.
This is a story about a very real family — the ups and downs, the quarrels and making-ups,
and it is a story of Becky's happy birthday.
To Anastasia Krupnik, being ten is very confusing. For one thing, she has this awful teacher
who can't understand why Anastasia doesn't capitalize or punctuate her poems. Then, there's
Washburn Cummings, a very interesting sixth-grade boy who doesn't even know she is alive.
Even her parents have become difficult. They insist she visit her 92-year-old grandmother
who can never remember Anastasia's name. On top of that, they're going to have a baby -- at
their age! It's enough to make a kid want to do something terrible. Anastasia knows that if she
didn't have her secret green notebook to write in, she would never make it to her eleventh
birthday.
Gloria has a confrontation with a loquacious parrot; helps Julian and Huey train their dog and
cure him of his squirrel obsession; faces her fear of fractions; and learns that some promises
shouldn’t be kept, some bets aren’t fair, and, most important, you cant put a measuring stick
to friendship. Ann Cameron's stories about brothers Huey and Julian have captured the hearts
of millions of readers, and Julian's best friend, Gloria, has joined them on every adventure.
Now Gloria gets to have her own adventures, with Julian and Huey along for the ride!
Gloria’s stories are told separately, each as it’s own chapter.
This picture book about what it was like for African-Americans in the segregated south is
particularly well done. Before young Sarah Marie learns to read the notorious "whites only"
signs, she is told that picnic lunches for trips south to visit Grandmama are better than lunch
counter meals, that seats in the back of the bus are roomier, and that water coolers are offlimits because of germs. Sarah Marie's innocence is lost when she learns to read and discovers
the truth. The lazy summer days of her childhood are effectively set against a dark
undercurrent of prejudice. This is a moving story of one African-American family's struggle
to maintain their dignity.
Nowadays it's no big deal or a girl to travel seventy-five miles. But when Charlotte May
Pierstorff wanted to cross seventy-five miles of Idaho mountains to see her grandma in 1914,
it was a very big deal indeed. There was no highway except the railroad, and a train ticket
would have cost her parents a full day's pay. Here is the true story of how May got to visit her
grandma, thanks to her won spunk, her father's ingenuity, and the U.S. mail.
Jolene's family was just Momma and Grandpa until big, loud Leroy Redfield started taking
Momma dancing. Jolene refuses to call him anything but "Mister." Without a name, he isn't a
real person to her. But then Jolene learns that Mister wants to marry Momma. It seems that
even her most defiantly bad behavior cannot make him go away. Prejudice and change are
two other social issues explored in this book.
A picture-book biography of the first Chinese matador. On his first vacation to Europe, Billy
Wong saw a Spanish bullfight and, marveling at the athletic prowess of the matador, realized
that even a man shorter than he might enter the sport. So he stayed in Spain and went to
bullfighting school, but after two years passed without fighting a single cow, Billy realized
that a Chinese matador might stand out in the crowd of aspiring bullfighters--as indeed he did.
After his first success as El Chino --The Chinese--in his native costume, Billy received an
offer to become a real matador.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
P
Zooman Sam
Lois Lowry
9780440416760
Q
Doing Time Online
Jan Siebold
978-0807516652
HI-B
R
Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson
9780064402507
R
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
Sharon Creech
978-0439649315
S
Gleam and Glow
(Picture Book)
Eve Bunting
9780152053802
S
Journey to Jo’burg
Beverly Naidoo
9780064402378
S
Mick Harte was Here
Barbara Park
9780679882039
S
Mississippi Bridge
Mildred D. Taylor
9780553159929
Four-year-old Sam Krupnik longs for recognition and a moment in the spotlight. Fortunately,
he has an understanding and patient family so that when he decides to be a zookeeper for
Future Job Day at his nursery school, his mother stitches up a uniform and his older sister,
Anastasia, provides 30 hats, each with an animal's name on it (Cubs, Gaitors, Lions, etc.),
donated by her friend's sportscaster father. Sam also has an understanding teacher who uses
the boy's lengthy presentation to discuss one animal each day and to read an appropriate book.
In the process of choosing his hat for each day and talking about the animals, Sam has learned
to read, and impressing others doesn't matter that much any longer.
Mitchell called it a practical joke that backfired, but the police called it a prank and the
punishment is to participate in the O.L.D. Friend program for juvenile offenders. Mitch comes
to the police station every Tuesday and Thursday for a month to have a computer "chat" with
a resident of the Maple Grove Nursing Home located in another part of the state. Mitch chats
with Wootie who is old but not soft. Her feisty remarks and straight-shooting questions help
to give Mitch the boost he needs, but he, in turn, helps Wootie with her troubles. It is a good,
small story of an unlikely friendship between a twelve-year-old who is trying to make sense
of making amends and an ailing woman who is trying to let go of her home to move into an
assisted-living facility. The humor and the lack of sentimentality add to the appeal of the
book. Secondary characters such as the single parent dad and the neighborhood bully are well
developed.
This is the delightfully warm and enjoyable story of an old Parisian named Armand, who
relished his solitary life. Children, he said, were like starlings, and one was better off without
them. But the homeless children who lived under the bridge recognized a true friend when
they met one, even if the friend seemed a trifle unwilling at the start. And it did not take
Armand very long to realize that he had gotten himself ready-made family; one that he loved
with all his heart, and one for whom he would have to find a better home than the bridge.
Armand and the children's adventures around Paris -- complete with gypsies and a Santa
Claus -- make a story which children will treasure.
A wise old Italian granny skillfully imparts life advice (and cooking lessons) to her winning
but sometimes obstinate 12-year-old granddaughter, Rosie. She and her best friend, Bailey,
don't always get along, that's true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things
right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It's easier to remember what's
important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup. Isolation and
stereotype are two other social issues explored in this book.
Based on a true story of a Bosnian family forced to flee their home during the recent civil
strife, Bunting skillfully tells young readers about the horrors of war and the hope that can
sometimes come after devastation and loss. She tells her readers the tale of a little girl who,
before fleeing her home with her family, had to leave two little goldfish behind in their pond.
When she comes back home, although the land is destroyed, the pond is brimming with
shimmering goldfish. Complemented by expressive oil paintings by illustrator Peter Sylvada,
Gleam and Glow is a poetic and important book when teaching about humanity and war.
Mma (mother in Tswana)lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village thirteen-yearold Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister suddenly
becomes very sick, Naledi and Tiro know, deep down, that only one person can save her.
Bravely, alone, they set off on a journey to find Mma and bring her back. It isn't until they
reach the city that they come to understand the dangers of their country, and the painful
struggle for freedom and dignity that is taking place all around them.
How could someone like Mick die? This is the hilarious kid who freaked his mom out by
putting a ceramic eye in a defrosted chicken, who did a wild solo dance in front of the whole
school because the music got in his pants, and the kid who, if he'd only worn his bicycle
helmet, would still be alive now. Phoebe has great memories of her brother, but cannot see
how her family will ever pick up the pieces and move on.
During a heavy rainstorm in 1930s rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus
driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white
passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River. (Prejudice) A terrifying
moment occurs that unites all the townspeople in a nightmare that will change their lives
forever. Growing up is another social issue explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
S
Outside Shot, The
Walter Dean Myers
9780440967842
HI-B
S
Permanent Rose
Hilary McKay
978-1416928041
S
Secret Holes
Pansie Hart Flood
9780876149232
Hardcover
T
Darby
J. Scott Fugua
978-0744590562
T
Double Dutch
Sharon Draper
9780689842313
T
Going Home
Nicholasa Mohr
9780141306445
T
Money Hungry
Sharon Flake
9781423103868
U
Drawing Lessons
Tracy Mack
978-0439112031
When Lonnie Jackson leaves Harlem for a basketball scholarship to a Midwestern college, he
know he must keep his head straight and his record clean. That's the only way he'll have a
chance of making it to the pros someday. But his street smarts haven't prepared him for the
pressures of tough classes, high-stakes college ball, and the temptation to fix games for local
gamblers. Everyone plays by a whole new set of rules -- including Sherry, who's determined
to be a track star. Her independence attracts Lonnie, but their on-again, off-again relationship
is driving him crazy. Lonnie has one year to learn how to make it as a "college man." It's his
outside shot at a bright future. Does he have what it takes?
Feisty Rose takes center stage as the highly original Casson family faces a long, hot summer.
As usual, things are a bit chaotic. Eldest daughter Caddy is engaged to darling Michael, and
she's not altogether sure she likes it. Saffy and Sarah are on a mission to find Saffy's
biological father (while cultivating hearts of stone). Indigo is cautiously beginning a
friendship with a reformed bully, who desperately wants to feel like part of the Casson family.
Rose, while dreadfully missing Tom (whom none of them have heard from), enters into a life
of petty crime, shoplifting small items until her misadventures nearly bring disaster. Through
it all, Rose's single-minded determination to find Tom remains as fierce as it is hopeless. Or is
it? McKay's cheeky, often irreverent tone in scenes about the Casson parents' marital tension
and the father's infidelity may baffle some younger readers, and the crowded plot, like the
Casson family itself, threatens to careen out of control.
It's turning out to be quite a summer for ten-year-old Sylvia Freeman. Not only has she
discovered that the father she thought was long dead is alive, but she's also learned that her
best friend, one-hundred-year-old Miz Lula Maye, is her great-grandmother. But the biggest
surprise is yet to come when Miz Lula Maye tells Sylvia about secret holes. Secret holes, Miz
Lula Maye explains, were places where people used to keep money and important papers.
They could be anywhere -- under a loose floorboard, behind a wall, or even inside a bedpost.
While Sylvia helps her best friend uncover hiding places from long ago, she decides there is
something she must do. But is Sylvia ready to face what she finds?
Darby Carmichael thinks her best friend is probably the smartest person she knows, even
though, as Mama says, Evette’s school uses worn-out books and crumbly chalk. Whenever
they can, Darby and Evette shoot off into the woods beyond the farm to play fancy ladies and
schoolteachers. One thing Darby has never dreamed of being - not until Evette suggests it - is
a newspaper girl who writes down the truth for all to read. In no time, and with more than a
little assistance from Evette, Darby and her column in the Bennettsville Times are famous in
town and beyond. Darby writes about a motivated murder in an article urging whites to treat
blacks as equals. But is Marlboro County, South Carolina, circa 1926, ready for the truth its
youngest reporter has to tell? Friendship and prejudice are two social issues that are explored
in this book.
Delia loves Double Dutch more than just about anything, and she's really good at it -- so good
she and her teammates have a shot at winning the World Double Dutch Championships. Delia
would die if she couldn't jump -- but Delia has a secret, and it could keep her off the team
next year. Delia's friend Randy has a secret too, one that has him lonely and scared. And
while Delia and Randy struggle to keep their secrets, their school is abuzz with rumors about
what malicious mischief the terrible Tolliver twins -- who just may have a secret of their own
-- are planning. Why can't life be as easy for Delia as Double Dutch?
Felita's whole life seems to change the year that she turns twelve. Her mother begins to insist
that her brothers go with her everywhere, and she's not allowed to hang out like she did last
year. Nothing about growing up in a strict Hispanic household seems fair. Then Felita learns
that one of her dreams will come true—she'll be spending the summer in Puerto Rico with her
uncle Jorge. Even though she'll miss her family and her friends—especially Vinny—Felita
knows she'll be happy.
All thirteen-year-old Raspberry can think of is making money so that she and her mother
never have to worry about being homeless, living on the streets again. Raspberry eventually
feels like things are looking up. But when their house is robbed and rich people protest
against their living situation, Raspberry finds herself doing everything to hold things together.
But even money can't answer the questions that keep Raspberry awake at night. Will she and
Momma ever move out of the projects? What did Ja'nae do with the two hundred bucks
Raspberry loaned her? And what's really going on with Momma and that rich doctor?
Aurora is an artist, like her father. Through years of drawing lessons he taught her about light
and color, perspective and form. "The great thing about art," Rory thinks, "is you can bring
back something you've lost and keep it forever." But when her father leaves the family, it's
Rory who is lost. In this exquisitely told story, a young girl must find her own way of
creating, her own way of connecting, her own way of being.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
U
Summer of Swans
Betsy Byars
9780140314205
V
Blue Willow
Doris Gates
9780140309249
V
Gregor The Overlander
Suzanne Collins
9780439678131
HI-B
This story features another independent, feisty girl, Catherine Kensey, aka Cat. Set in
California during the Depression, Cat, 11, is the fastest runner in her school. Refusing to run
in the Play Day Races because her father, a strict conservative, will not allow her to buy
slacks, she believes her class will lose. It is the new boy, an Okie, who wins the race
barefooted. He doesn't care what others think. Slowly Zane and Cat begin an uneasy
friendship. She is appalled by the shanty town where his family lives but it is his sister,
Sammy, 5, who affects Cat deeply and forces her to dramatic action. Cat learns how quickly
people's economic status can change. Growing up and stereotyping are two other issues
explored in this book.
A little girl, who wants most of all to have a real home and to go to a regular school, hopes
that the valley her family has come to, which so resembles the pattern on her treasured blue
willow plate, will be their permanent home. Along with homelessness, isolation and
stereotyping are two other issues explored in this book.
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles
into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This
world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that
Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it -until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance.
Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the
Underland forever.
V
Yolanda’s Genius
(Please Note: Excerpt from this
book used in TCRWP assessment
Set 1.Level V)
Carol Fenner
9780689813276
Yolanda is smart, tough, and big for her age. Back in Chicago where she used to live,
everyone knew better than to mess with her or her little brother, Andrew. Andrew doesn't talk
much and he can't read, but he can create unbelievable music on the old harmonica their
father left him. When Yolanda reads the definition of "genius" in the dictionary, she knows it
describes Andrew, and she's determined to convince the world, and especially their mother, of
Andrew's gift. Then one day when Yolanda's back is turned, the unthinkable happens, and the
music stops. Now Yolanda's mission is more important than ever. How can she open people's
eyes to Andrew's talent and help him find the music again?
W
Higher Power of Lucky, The
Susan Patron
9781416975571
W
Missing May
Cynthia Rylant
9780439613835
W
Sister
Eloise Greenfield
9780064401999
W
Wish List, The
Eoin Colfer
9780439443364
Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full
of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the
rock-bottom only choice she has. It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France.
Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that
she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle,
won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln,
future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as
bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the
interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick. But she hadn't
planned on a dust storm. Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the
desert. (Note: The word ‘scrotum’ is used on the first page of this book and alcoholism is
addressed.)
When May dies suddenly while gardening, Summer assumes she'll never see her beloved aunt
again. But then Summer's Uncle Ob claims that May is on her way back — she has sent a sign
from the spirit world. Summer isn't sure she believes in the spirit world, but her quirky
classmate Cletus Underwood — who befriends Ob during his time of mourning — does. So at
Cletus' suggestion, Ob and Summer (with Cletus in tow) set off in search of Miriam B.
Young, Small Medium at Large, whom they hope will explain May's departure and confirm
her possible return.
Doretha is thirteen, black, and confused by her ambivalence about herself. . . . Leafing
through her diary, Doretha remembers—and each memory of the past four years reveals
something about her and about the people she has loved. The book is strong in perception, in
its sensitivity, in its realism. Growing up is another issue explored in this book.
Meg Finn is in a tough spot. Really tough. For her last act on Earth, she committed a crime and lost her life as a result. Now Meg's spirit is stuck in limbo, due to a dead-even tally of
good and evil deeds. Meg's only chance at salvation is to return to Earth and stack on a few
more good deeds - namely, helping the old man whose apartment she was robbing during her
last appearance. For better or worse, that man needs a lot of help. In fact, he has a whole list
of wishes he wants to fill before he dies. And it's up to Meg to make those wishes come true before her own time is up. Meg experiences change in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Y
How I Survived Being a Girl
Wendelin Van Draanen
978-0060540739
Z
Miracle’s Boys
Jacqueline Woodson
9780142406021
HI-B
Z
HI-B
Z
HI-B
Monster
Walter Dean Myers
9780064407311
Scorpions
Walter Dean Myers
9780064470667
Carolyn is a girl with strong opinions. On being a girl: `stupid.’ Wearing dresses: `only when
forced, and then with shorts underneath.’ Summer nights: `make you feel invincible.’ Girls
with Mary Janes: `no use at all.’ The boy next door: `I do not have a crush on him!’ The top
bunk: `for really great dreams.’ She thought she knew how she felt about everything. But the
summer before the sixth grade, though everything seemed the same, it all felt different. In this
wonderfully funny first novel, Wendelin Van Draanen perfectly captures the emotional
earthquakes of growing up and growing into oneself.
Lafayette would do anything to have things back the way they used to be—back before their
parents died and back before his brother Charlie changed so much. But things have changed
and all he can do now is ask why.... Why did Mama have to die? Why does Charlie hate him
so much? And how are the three brothers—Miracle’s boys—supposed to survive when so
much seems to be stacked against them?
Steve Harmon: 16 years old and on trial for murder. His parents' hearts break as they watch
the drama unfold from their seats in the back of the courtroom. Did Steve serve as the lookout
when Bobo Evans and James King robbed the drugstore and then killed the store's owner in
the commotion? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is he being framed by a
couple of losers he used to call friends? In the tension-filled courtroom, reality begins to blur
for Steve. How on earth did he get here? Is he a monster?
The Scorpions are a gun-toting Harlem gang, and Jamal Hicks is about to become tragically
involved with them in this authentic tale of the sacrifice of innocence in the inner city. Pushed
by the bully, Dwayne, to fight, and nagged by the principal, Mr. Davidson, Jamal is having a
difficult time staying in school. His home life is not much better, with his mother working her
fingers to the bone to try to earn the money for an appeal for Jamal's older brother, Randy,
who is in jail. The leader of the Scorpions, Randy wants Jamal to take his place until he is
free, but the other gang members, especially Angel and Indian, don't like the idea. Only Mack
thinks Jamal should be the leader, and it is Mack who gets Jamal a gun. Jamal wants to do the
right thing and earn the money to free his brother by working, but he is afraid to go against
the Scorpions. He longs to get rid of the gun, but part of him just can't bring himself to do it.
As things heat up within the gang, everything comes to a boil when Mack kills Angel and
Indian is thrown in jail. Jamal eventually pulls free of the gang's bad influence, but only
through the narrowest of escapes.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
L
Fitting In: Living in a World of Differences
Title/Author
Summary
Bed and Breakfast Star, The
Jacqueline Wilson
978-0440867609
Harry’s Got A Girlfriend
Ulli Schubert
978-0439101318
M
Judy Moody
Megan McDonald
978-0763612313
M
Marvin Redpost: Why Pick on
Me?
Louis Sacher
9780679819479
Andy and Tamica
David Adler
9780152054465
HI-B
N
HI-B
N
N
Bravo, Maurice!
Rebecca Bond
978-0316105453
(Hardcover)
Chalk Box Kid
Clyde Robert Bulla
9780394891026
Elsa, who tells many jokes and believes she’ll be a star one day, does her best to cheer her
family up. But since they’ve become homeless and had to move into a bed and breakfast
hotel, it seems no one laughs much any more.
This book is about a boy named Harry who is happy when he gets invited to a birthday party.
The problem is the party is for a girl and Harry’s friends will never stop making fun of him if
he actually goes! Younger children will like this book because it shows that it is always
better to follow your heart and do what makes you happy without worrying about what other
people think. In fact, as Harry learns, the people who are making fun of you may just be
jealous!
As summer sizzles to a stop, Judy Moody grudgingly prepares to start the third grade with
her new teacher, Mr. Todd. For the first month of school, Judy must create a “ME” collage
that will tell her new class all about herself. In between negotiating new friendships with
boys, tolerating her younger brother, Stink, and stomping through her “roaring” bad moods,
Judy learns that people aren’t always what they seem and discovers many facets of her
artistic and curious self. Older readers will readily identify with the moody third grader, who
peppers her language with puns and no-nonsense observations of her family and friends.
Students will be able to make connections to the situations Judy encounters throughout the
story, such as making new friends and adjusting to a new grade. Supportive elements, such
as whimsical illustrations and chapter titles, will allow students to make predictions about
the story’s events and assist them in making visualizations of the characters and actions of
the story. Finally, older readers will be challenged and delighted by the vivid language, such
as metaphors and similes, that the author uses throughout her story, such as these following
two examples: “Stink waddled into the family room wrapped in a red and white striped
tablecloth, looking like he just got hit by a flying picnic” and “She felt like a bike left out in
the rain.”
The bully starts the rumor that Marvin Redpost is the biggest nose-picker in the school.
Clarence started it, and now everyone is acting as if it’s true. Even Marvin’s best friends
don’t want to be seen with him. It’s unfair! But what can Marvin do about it?
Andy Russell's misadventures continue when his gerbils escape once again, this time at the
school carnival. And Stacy Ann Jackson, the teacher's pet, isn't making life any easier for
him. Meanwhile, Andy's friend Tamika is preparing to move in with the Russells. And Andy
will do anything to find out if he is going to have a baby brother or a baby sister. As he tries
to sort through these dilemmas, Andy makes a surprising new friend and discovers what
being a family really means. Cultural diversity and friendship are two other social issues
explored in this book.
Everyone in the family thinks Maurice will be this way or that when he grows up. However,
Maurice begins to grow and his family soon discovers that he has a special gift of his own.
Themes of home and hearth are in this tale of intergenerational family love, individuality and
the gifts that make each one of us unique.
As the story opens, Gregory's father has lost his factory job, and the family is moving to a
smaller house in a poorer part of town. At first, Gregory feels lost. The kids at his new
school don't readily accept him, he has to share a bedroom with his 22-year-old uncle, and
the new house doesn't have a yard where he can play. Then Gregory discovers the chalk
factory — an old, burnt-out building nearby. Gregory goes exploring, and as he does, he
finds plenty of chalk in the debris. With it he begins to draw flowers on the factory's
blackened walls. As his garden grows and flourishes, Gregory finds a voice through his art,
and his spirits begin to soar. Through a series of related events, his life and that of his family
turns around, and Gregory, for the first time, finds his own place in the world.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Fitting In: Living in a World of Differences)
N
How to be Cool in Third Grade
Betsey Duffey
9780141304663
N
Key Collection, The
Andrea Cheng
978-0805071535
(Hardcover)
N
Maniac Monkeys on Magnolia
Street
Angela Johnson
978-0375802089
HI-B
N
Meet Danitra Brown
Nikki Grimes
9780688154714
N
Song Lee and the I Hate You
Notes
Suzy Kline
9780141303031
Gloria’s Way
Ann Cameron
9780142300237
O
O
Marisol
Gary Soto
9781584859727
O
Mouse Called Wolf, A
Dick King-Smith
9780375800665
Robbie is old enough to know that surviving school depends on one very important thing:
knowing what's cool. But what is cool in the third grade? he asks himself. He's got some
ideas. Cool is a grown-up name like "Rob" instead of "Robbie." Cool is walking to the bus
stop by yourself, and not having your mother there with a camera and a kiss goodbye. Cool
is jeans and a t-shirt — and definitely not Super Heroes underwear. Robbie knows he has
work to do in the cool department, but he's forgotten about one thing: Bo Haney, the school
bully. Bo is big, and he's been in the third grade for a long, long time. More importantly,
when he gives a nickname, it sticks. And all it takes is one lurch of the school bus to land
Robbie right in Bo's lap, and land him the nickname "Baby Wobbie." Now Robbie is
convinced he's in for the worst year ever. But third grade can be full of surprises, as he finds
out, not the least of which is his own resourcefulness. Young readers will cheer Robbie's
ultimate success in this gentle, realistic chapter book.
Jimmy is lucky to have his father's mother living next door. However, his aunt Helen lives in
San Francisco and wants her mother to come live with her. Helen is a doctor, and as Ni Ni's
health deteriorates, this begins to seem like a good idea to the adults. As she is about to
leave, Jimmy realizes how much he is losing. As he plays with her key collection, he
gradually sorts through his unhappiness. Dividing the keys into families, he begins to see
how he and Ni Ni are connected to others. As she recounts familiar family stories, the
connections deepen. Eventually Jimmy is able to accept his grandmother's departure, and as
new people move into the house and new keys are found, he finds his way forward. This is a
quiet story with a strong heart and a clear picture of the way kids cope. The essential
references to Chinese culture are conveyed with skill and clarity.
Welcome to Magnolia Street, where Charlie has just moved into her new home. It isn't long
before Charlie's exploring, meeting all of her new neighbors, and getting herself into trouble.
Her adventures with her bound-to-be best friend Billy--tricking Charlie's older brother,
making a racket on a bus trip to the museum, or digging up a box of buried treasure--make
even ordinary exciting. This collection of interrelated short stories is a true delight, perfect
for newly emerging independent readers. Both girls and boys will cheer for this spunky girl
as she takes on Magnolia Street and blossoms day by day.
In a series of poems, an African American girl sings the praises of her best friend and their
special relationship. According to Zuri, the speaker here, Danitra is "the most splendiferous
girl in town." Zuri respects Danitra's quirks (she wears only purple clothing) and admires her
ability to walk away from boys who taunt her about her glasses. Zuri is, moreover, grateful
that "Danitra knows just what to say to make me glad." Grimes's poetry has a very deliberate
rhyme scheme, but it also smoothly describes a number of vignettes and links them with
consistent themes and characterizations. Issues of race, feminism and family structure are
delicately incorporated, and successfully build an emotional connection for the reader.
When Song Lee-the nicest person in Room 2B-starts getting nasty notes, everyone is
shocked. Then Song Lee comes up with a creative way to teach the note sender a lesson he
or she won't soon forget.
In six spirited stories, Gloria has a confrontation with a loquacious parrot; helps Julian and
Huey train their dog and cure him of his squirrel obsession; faces her fear of fractions; and
learns that some promises shouldn’t be kept, some bets aren’t fair, and, most important, you
can’t put a measuring stick to friendship. Ann Cameron's stories about brothers Huey and
Julian have captured the hearts of millions of readers, and Julian's best friend, Gloria, has
joined them on every adventure. Now Gloria gets to have her own adventures, with Julian
and Huey along for the ride!
Marisol Luna is a ten-year-old girl who loves to dance. Ballet folklórico (Mexican
folkdance) is her favorite type of dance, but she also does jazz, ballet, and a little tap! She is
very disappointed when her parents decide to move to the Chicago suburbs—away from
their close-knit neighborhood and Marisol's school and dance classes. But Marisol realizes
that no matter where she is, it is her passion to dance that will help her persevere in the midst
of change. Marisol's story will appeal to all readers—especially those who love dance.
Wolf has a big name for such a little mouse. But the name fits. His favorite pastime is
listening to Mrs. Honeybee, the lady of the house, play the piano. If only he could sing along
to the music! One day, Wolf decides to try -- and to his surprise, out of his mouth comes a
perfect melody. Then an accident leaves Mrs. Honeybee in danger, and it's up to Wolf to
save her... the only way he knows how.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
(Continued - Fitting In: Living in a World of Differences)
O
Shimmershine Queens, The
Camille Yabrough
9780698113695
O
Tea With Milk
(Picture Book)
Allen Say
9780547237473
Creativity
John Steptoe
978-0340749234
P
P
Hundred Dresses, The
Eleanor Estes
9780152052607
P
Quail Club, The
Caroline Marsden
9780763634223
W
Freak the Mighty
Rodman Philbrick
9780439286060
X
Jacob Have I Loved
Katherine Paterson
9780064403689
Angie and Michelle are best friends, facing the very real problems of growing up in a tough
inner-city neighborhood where it's sometimes not considered "cool, " or even safe, to be
smart or to have kinky hair and dark skin. That is until 90-year-old Cousin Seatta comes to
visit and teaches Angie and Michelle about the shimmershine feeling, that good feeling and
pride which people have for their racial heritage and physical features.
After growing up near San Francisco, a young Japanese woman returns with her parents to
their native Japan, but she feels foreign and out of place. This story also explores the issue
of understanding self and others.
When a boy named Hector joins Charles's class, Charles finds the new boy's dark skin and
straight hair confusing. How can Hector speak Spanish, be Puerto Rican, and have the same
skin color as Charles, who is African American? This confusion sparks discussion about
shared heritage and language. Cultural diversity and friendship are two social issues
explored in this book.
In this book, Wanda Petronski wears the same blue dress to school everyday but tells all of
the other girls that she has a hundred more at home. Although the other girls, one being a
bully, don’t believe her and laugh at her, she insists that she has a hundred dresses lined up
in her closet until the day that she leaves the school. Older children will enjoy reading this
book because it proves that your name or what you wear doesn’t make you who you are. In
fact, the girl with the foreign name who only wears one dress has hundreds of dreams and a
very big heart.
Oy lives in America now, but she loves to go to the back room of Pak's auto shop on
Saturdays to learn traditional Thai dances. She loves it almost as much as being a member of
the Quail Club - five friends who gather after school to hatch and care for baby quail. When
the teacher announces a talent show, Oy knows how proud her family and Pak would be to
see her step onstage in her beautiful gold-threaded dress from Thailand. But bossy Liliandra
vows to kick her out of the Quail Club if she won't team up for a very different kind of
dance. Someone will be disappointed. But who?
Meet learning disabled Maxwell Kane, narrator of Freak the Mighty. He’s a timid soul stuck
in the body of a teenage giant with size 14 shoes. Haunted by a dark secret in his past, he
hides out in his basement room, avoiding the world. But when a new kid who’s birth defect
has affected his body but not his brilliant mind moves in next door Max’s life changes
forever. The two outcasts form the ‘normal’ world team up to become “Freak the Mighty.”
Like knights of old they defend the weak, right every wrong–and solve the mystery of Max’s
past. Proving once and for all that courage comes in all sizes.
"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated . . ." With her grandmother's taunt, Louise knew
that she, like the biblical Esau, was the despised elder twin. Caroline, her selfish younger
sister, was the one everyone loved.
Growing up on a tiny Chesapeake Bay island in the early 1940s, angry Louise reveals how
Caroline robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her
name. While everyone pampered Caroline, Wheeze (her sister's name for her) began to learn
the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island, especially of old Captain Wallace,
who had mysteriously returned after fifty years. The war unexpectedly gave this independent
girl a chance to fulfill her childish dream to work as a watermen alongside her father. But the
dream did not satisfy the woman she was becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise began to fight
her way to a place where Caroline could not reach.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
Level
Perceptions: The Way Others View Us Can Affect the Way We View Ourselves
Summary
Title/Author
Invincible
Sally Rosenberg
Romansky
9780972372947
Q
J.T.
Jane Wagner
9780440442752
S
Cartoonist, The
Betsy Byers
978-0140323092
Donuthead
Sue Stauffacher
9780440419341
S
S
Eagle Song
Joseph Bruchac
9780141301693
S
Gift Giver, The
Joyce Hansen
9780618611232
S
Gleam and Glow
(Picture Book)
Eve Bunting
9780152053802
S
Journey to Jo’burg
Beverly Nadioo
9780064402378
S
Me, Mop, and the Moon
Dance Kid
Walter Dean Myer
9780440403968
Two princesses rise to physical and emotional challenges in this inspiring fantasy. Hedged round by
their overly protective parents, Lena and Meg chafe at their isolated life in the castle. Feisty Lena
yearns to explore even while a disability keeps her bound to her wheelchair. When a new manager,
Marcus, takes over the stables, Lena learns of his disabled sister, who found physical freedom in
horseback riding. Long a horse lover, Lena is determined to learn to ride and the girls solicit Marcus's
help. Even when Lena almost drowns while visiting a magical pool, the girls continue to work to
realize their dream: to create a place where children, no matter their physical challenges, might learn to
ride, like Lena, and express themselves creatively, like Meg. A section on therapeutic riding acquaints
young readers with this amazing therapeutic program, "a fun way to exercise both body and mind."
To the guys on the block, J.T. is the kid who stole the radio out of the red convertible before they could
get to it. His neighbor, Mrs. Morris, declares him a first-class nuisance. His mother is bewildered —
"He's just gone bad, that's all.... Stealin' and lyin' and I don't know what all." But all the sensitivity,
responsibility, and care of which ten-year-old J.T. Gamble is capable emerges when he finds an old,
one-eyed, badly hurt alley cat. J.T. takes on a new dimension as he lavishes all the love he is unable to
express to people around him on the battered cat he has found in the junk-filled empty lot.
Threatened with the loss of his private place in the attic of his crowded and what some would call
dysfunctional home, a young, artistic boy determines to keep it at all costs.
Franklin Delano Donuthead, a fifth-grader obsessed with hygiene and safety, finds an unlikely friend
and protector in Sarah Kervick, the tough new student who lives in a dirty trailer, bonds with his
mother, and is as "irregular" as he is. This is a hilarious and touching novel featuring a neurotic,
scared boy and a tougher-than-nails girl who each help the other in more ways than they can imagine.
4th grader Danny Bigtree is having trouble adjusting to his big-city school — he's homesick for the
Mohawk reservation where his family used to live, and he wishes he could make a friend. The kids in
his class, from a variety of backgrounds themselves, tease him about what they perceive to be his
roots. Danny has learned from experience not to correct them. At home, the usual stereotypes are
turned upside-down. Whenever Danny's dad puts on his Hollywood Indian voice, Danny knows a joke
is coming, and the whole family shares in the laughter. Danny longs for the warmth of his home life to
dispel the loneliness of his Brooklyn school, and so his father agrees to help, coming to Danny's class
to tell the legend of the great leader, Aionwahta, and his song of peace. While the visit makes a
difference, Danny realizes that the most important step toward finding friendship is still to come. A
short glossary and pronunciation guide at the back of the book helps with the Mohawk words used
within the story, and makes this ideal supplementary reading for units on Native American cultures.
Amir, a gentle loner, is the new boy on the block. Doris is amazed that he doesn’t seem to care about
doing what everyone else does. As Doris and Amir become friends, he helps her to grow in selfconfidence and in her understanding of others. When her father loses his job, it is Amir’s influence
that enables Doris to plan an active role in keeping her family together –even though it means growing
apart from her friends. This sensitive portrayal of a young girl’s coming of age offers a positive
perspective on life in an inner-city neighborhood and shows that a ghetto is a place where people hope,
grow and care.
Based on a true story of a Bosnian family forced to flee their home during the recent civil strife,
Bunting skillfully tells young readers about the horrors of war and the hope that can sometimes come
after devastation and loss. She tells her readers the tale of a little girl who, before fleeing her home
with her family, had to leave two little goldfish behind in their pond. When she comes back home,
although the land is destroyed, the pond is brimming with shimmering goldfish. Complemented by
expressive oil paintings by illustrator Peter Sylvada, Gleam and Glow is a poetic and important book
when teaching about humanity and war.
Mma (mother in Tswana)lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village thirteen-year-old
Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister suddenly becomes very sick,
Naledi and Tiro know, deep down, that only one person can save her. Bravely, alone, they set off on a
journey to find Mma and bring her back. It isn't until they reach the city that they come to understand
the dangers of their country, and the painful struggle for freedom and dignity that is taking place all
around them.
Although adoption has taken them out of the New Jersey institution where they grew up, eleven-yearold T.J. and his younger brother Moondance remain involved with their friend Mop's relentless
attempts to become adopted herself and to wreak revenge on their baseball rivals the obnoxious
Eagles. Values, character, cultural diversity and sports are other topics which are explored in this book.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
S
(Continued - Perceptions: The Way Others View Us Can Affect the Way We View Ourselves)
Project Mulberry
Linda Sue Park
9780440421634
T
Any Small Goodness
Tony Johnston
9780439233842
T
Blubber
Judy Blume
9780440407072
T
Larger-Than-Life-Lara
Dandi Daley Mackall
978-0525477266
(Hardcover)
T
My Louisiana Sky
Kimberly Willis Holt
978-0440415701
T
Notes from a Liar and
Her Dog
Gennifer Choldenko
9780142500682
Year of no Rain
Alice Mead
978-0440420040
T
U
Every Soul a Star
Wendy Mass
9780316002561
(Hardcover)
Seventh-graders Julia and Patrick are fast friends who do almost everything together. After joining a
new club they are determined to come up with an outstanding project that will enable them to win at
least one blue ribbon at the state fair. Usually they have good ideas and work well together. But this
time they face several hurdles and cannot seem to agree on a plan. Julia's mother's idea of raising
silkworms is enthusiastically accepted by Patrick. Julia thinks it reflects only her Korean heritage and
is not "American" enough. When Mr. Maxwell, their advisor, approves the concept, Julia reluctantly
goes along even though she secretly keeps putting obstacles in the way of success. Soon Julia gets
totally caught up in the project. Along the way she and Patrick learn a great deal about silkworms,
friendship, patience and tolerance. A unique addition to the novel is conversation between the author
and Julia. Prejudice is another social issue that is explored in this book.
A Hispanic family lives in L.A. Not the L.A. where there are fast cars, people who are too rich and too
poor – this L.A. is a place where random acts of generosity and goodwill improve the lives of the
community. Any Small Goodness is a novel filled with hope, love, and warmth. Stereotyping and
family are two other issues explored in this book.
"Blubber is a good name for her," the note from Wendy says about Linda. Jill crumples it up and
leaves it on the corner of her desk. She doesn't want to think about Linda or her dumb report on the
whale just now. Jill wants to think about Halloween. But Robby grabs the note, and before Linda stops
talking it has gone halfway around the room. That's where it all starts. There's something about Linda
that makes a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they can go -- but nobody, least of
all Jill, expects the fun to end where it does as she becomes the target.
Ten-year-old Laney Grafton recounts recent events surrounding Lara, a new girl in her class, who is
morbidly obese. Through her narrative, Laney documents the miserable and numerous offenses that are
perpetrated on Lara, and reveals her own experiences as the class scapegoat and outcast. Finally, the
students' publicly mortify Lara, with an act so mean-spirited that the adults finally get involved (their
absence and lack of leadership and guidance is a huge gap throughout this novel). The outcome is that
Lara, rather than the perpetrators, has to leave the school. And, to the students' astonishment, Lara and
her parents leave without saying goodbye. Realizing the serious effect their actions have had on Lara,
and what it has revealed about their own lack of understanding and empathy, the children line the
school driveway, holding signs of apology and well wishes as the car passes. This final scene fails to
redeem the students' relentless intolerance of Lara up to that point, however. Bullying and prejudices
are two other social issues explored in this book.
Twelve-year-old Tiger Ann Parker desperately wants to escape from her rural town of Saitter,
Louisiana -- and the struggles of living with a mentally disabled mother, a "slow" father, and
classmates who taunt her, even though she tried to fit in. But before she leaves to spend the summer
with her aunt in Baton Rouge, the sudden revelation of a dark family secret prompts Tiger to make a
decision that will ultimately change her life. Set in the South in the late 1950s, this compelling comingof-age novel is filled with beautiful language, unforgettable characters, and the importance of family
and home.
How could Ant MacPherson possibly tell her parents the truth all of the time? They never understand
anything! The only person in her family Ant admits to being related to is her little dog, Pistachio. She
writes notes in her journal to her "real mom" and tells people at school that she's adopted. But when a
concerned teacher sees the truth about Ant and her lies, it seems that Ant may be in for a big change. . .
.
In the dry spring of 1999, eleven-year-old Stephen Majok watches as his friend Wol joins a circle of
dancers. Wol is celebrating - only fourteen, he is engaged to Stephen's sister. Wol wants to marry
because he might join the guerrillas in southern Sudan and fight the northern government soldiers. He
wants a wife to remember him. Stephen thinks Wol is crazy. Children should study. But because of the
civil war, there has been no school in their village for over a year. All Stephen has left from his student
days is his books and one precious pencil, and the hunger for knowledge. Then, suddenly - but not
unexpectedly - exploding bombs are heard in the tiny village. Stephen's mother tells him to hurry, pack
his bag, and hide beyond the forest with Wol and their friend Deng. Stephen grabs his geography book,
his pencil, and little else. He does not want to leave his mother and sister. He does not want to leave
the life he loves. Cultural diversity and friendship are two social issues also explored in this book.
Three middle schoolers are brought together at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground where
thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. Told
from these three perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers
coming together under different circumstances and establishing unlikely friendships. With breathtaking
descriptions of nature and its ultimate phenomenon, the eclipse, Every Soul a Star is a powerful and
humorous story about dealing with change and discovering one's place in the universe.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Social Issues Book List
U
(Continued - Perceptions: The Way Others View Us Can Affect the Way We View Ourselves)
If A Tree Falls At Lunch
Period
Gennifer Choldenko
978-0152066444
V
Pictures of Holice Wood
Patricia Reilly Giff
978-0440415787
X
Bluish
Virginia Hamilton
9780439367868
Y
Milkweed
Jerry Spinelli
9780440420057
Y
When Zachary Beaver
Came to Town
Kimberly Willis Holt
9780440229049
Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the
school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side.
Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks
he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one
knows why he’ll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him. But all of this feels almost
trivial when Kirsten and Walker discover a secret that shakes them both to the core.
Artistically talented Hollis Woods was an infant when she was abandoned and for 12 years she has
been transferred from one foster home to another. To the social agency, she is a "mountain of trouble"
because she skips school and runs away, even from the Regans, a family willing to give her a real
home. When she is placed with Josie, an elderly artist who is becoming very forgetful, Hollis begins to
feel needed and doesn't ever want to leave this eccentric old woman who knows a lot about friendship
and love. Fearful that the social agency will take her from Josie, Hollis plans a winter escape. This
time she takes Josie with her and returns to Branches, the summer home that belongs to the Regans.
All along, Hollis longs for her life with the Regans, and records every special moment with them in a
gallery of pictures.
Friendship isn't always easy. Natalie is different from the other girls in Dreenie's fifth-grade class. She
comes to school in a wheelchair, always wearing a knitted hat. The kids call her "Bluish" because her
skin is tinted blue from chemotherapy. Dreenie is fascinated by Bluish -- and a little scared of her, too.
She watches Bluish and writes her observations in her journal. Slowly, the two girls become good
friends. But Dreenie still struggles with Bluish's illness. Bluish is weak and frail, but she also wants to
be independent and respected. How do you act around a girl like that?
He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham. He’s a boy who
lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a
boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day,
with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him
change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a
boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.
Nothing ever happens in Toby’s small Texas town. Nothing much until this summer that’s full of big
changes. It’s tough for Toby when his mother leaves home to be a country singer. Toby takes it hard
when his best friend Cal’s older brother goes off to fight in Vietnam. Now their sleepy town is about to
get a jolt with the arrival of Zachary Beaver, billed as the fattest boy in the world. Toby is in for a
summer unlike any other, a summer sure to change his life.
TCRWP—DRAFT
March, 2009
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